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Westhill softball dethrones J-E as league champs

Through solid defense, better pitching and timely hits, the Westhill softball team seized the OHSL Liberty division title from defending champion Jordan-Elbridge.

And the final touch was applied in back-to-back games between the Warriors and Eagles late last week, both of which were decided by a single run.

In the opener, at Westhill on Thursday (made up from an April 27 rainout), the Warriors survived a tense 1-0 duel.

A first-inning run held up, as Jessica Mangicaro pitched one of her best games of the season, holding J-E to just one hit. For its part, Westhill had just four hits, yet still prevailed.

The rematch came 24 hours later, at J-E, and proved to be just as tense and tight. But one big inning allowed the Warriors to prevail again, this time by a score of 3-2.

Ryan's double and triple helped the Eagles go in front 2-0, but Westhill erased it by scoring three times in the top of the fourth inning.

And even though it had just three hits off J-E pitchers Ryan and Jennifer Gasparek, the Warriors came out on top, for Mangicaro protected that one-run lead through the last four innings and earned eight strikeouts along the way.

Prior to that, Westhill romped past Skaneateles 12-3.

Five first-inning runs sent the Warriors on its way against the Lakers. Maggie Syron led the charge, with four RBIs, as Amanda O'Connell hit a home run and joined Sarah McMullen, Kayley Arsenault and Lauren Kelly with two RBIs apiece.

Then it all turned around Tuesday, as Westhill saw its 12-game win streak stopped by Bishop Ludden in a 2-1 decision.

O'Connell's first-inning RBI got the Warriors in front of Ludden, but pitcher Courtney Smith allowed nothing more as she finished with a four-hitter. The Gaelic Knights scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings off Mangicaro to prevail.

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