Solvay softball claims B-2 title

Young and confident, the Solvay softball team gladly allowed others to bask in the spotlight for much of the 2007 regular season while working through its own bouts of inconsistency.

Then, when the post-season whistle blew, the Bearcats proved to be more adept at survival than its older or more accomplished foes.

Solvay dismissed Jordan-Elbridge in the quarterfinals, then took full advantage of top seed Westhill's shocking early departure to knock off two different sets of Lakers, starting with its 1-0 nail-biter over Skaneateles in the semifinals on May 26.

Four days later, in the B-1 title game at Gillette Field in North Syracuse, the Bearcats used more late heroics to rally past Cazenovia 2-1 for its first sectional title in four years.

After 14 shutout innings in the playoffs, Gabrielle Nurod finally allowed a run in the first inning, but that was all she would give up against a Lakers lineup she was quite familiar with through two regular-season games in the OHSL Liberty division.

Of course, the Bearcats were having its own problems solving Cazenovia ace Katie McLean, going through six innings without breaking through against her.

When it comes to the seventh inning, though, Solvay has it mastered, showing remarkable poise and clutch ability. Chelsey Chavez-Egan singled, then moved around the bases and scored to tie it, 1-1.

So it remained until the top of the eighth. Stacy Kaltenach singled, her second hit of the night, and was moved to third base with one out.

Chavez-Egan returned and hit a grounder to the Cazenovia shortstop. Kaltenbach hesitated for a moment, then took off for home, sliding under the tag to produce the go-ahead run.

Needing three outs to move forward, Nurod got them, and the girls that, when younger, saw Solvay win a sectional crown in 2003 now had their own title to celebrate.

But not for too long, though. Solvay takes on Adirondack in the overall Class B final Saturday at Gillette Field. The Wildcats held off Canastota's late rally to prevail, 5-4, in the B-2 title game, and carry a 19-1 record, led by senior pitcher Halie Tyler.

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