Apr 11, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
If their first encounter was any kind of indication, the Solvay and Westhill softball teams might spend the entire spring battling it out for top honors in the OHSL Liberty divisions.
On a raw Thursday afternoon, the two neighbors confronted each other for the first time in 2008, and it took eight innings for the Bearcats to fight past the Warriors 2-1.
This game had all kinds of elements, from great defense to questionable calls that affected both teams, plus two young pitchers showing lots of poise.
Solvay’s Gabrielle Nurod, though just a sophomore, is the more established talent, while Westhill freshman Tony Secreti, a transfer from Baldwinsville, has the potential to be a dominant arm.
With pitchers like this, one mistake can be crucial. Solvay found this out in the top of the third inning when, after a one-out walk to Melissa Real, Lauren Kelly singled, and an error in left field allowed Real to race around with the game’s first run.
Throwing with power, Secreti maintained that 1-0 edge until the bottom of the fifth, when she walked the first two hitters. After a groundout moved the runners over, Erica Griffo worked a long at-bat to her advantage as she hit a ground ball off Secreti’s glove that brought home the tying run.
Solvay had a chance to go out in front, but after loading the bases, Secreti struck out Brittini Casimiro, one of 12 strikeouts on the afternoon.
The excitement continued in the seventh inning. With a Westhill runner on second, a foul ball went beyond the third-base line, but shortstop Kelly Kaltenbach raced over and made a diving catch, helping to end the rally.
After Nurod stranded two more runners in the top of the eighth, Solvay came to bat. Leading off, Chelsey Chavez-Egan hit a ball right in front of the plate, no more than a few feet. Somehow, the ball stayed fair, and Chavez-Egan was on base with an infield hit, moving to second on a sacrifice hunt.
Brittini Casimiro then singled, putting Chavez-Egan on third. On the first pitch she saw, Kylie Scoville laid down a squeeze bunt and, when the throw to first was mishandled, Chavez-Egan came home with the winning run.
The Bearcats began the season as defending Section III Class B champions and had many players (like Nurod, Chavez-Egan, Kaltenbach, Casimiro and Scoville) back from that 2007 title run.
S0lvay had played the day before, against Skaneateles, and earned a 3-1 victory over the Lakers.
Nurod pitched a one-hitter, piling up 11 strikeouts along the way. Single runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings proved to be enough as Scoville and Kaltenbach both doubled.
Before this, Westhill met Jordan-Elbridge, the 2006 champions beginning life without pitching great Colleen Ryan under a new head coach, Robin Smart.
Westhill led all the way through, beating the Eagles 7-2. It scored three times off Jenn Gasparek in the top of the first inning, then got runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings to add to the margin.
Courtney Morgan led the way for the Warriors with a double and two RBIs. Brittany Kaiser, Kailey Arsenault (back from a knee injury that kept her out of basketball this winter) and Shannon Flattery drove in one run apiece. J-E’s Lindsay Geary had an RBI, too.
Secreti started on the mound for Westhill and pitched through the fifth inning, earning the victory as Emily Mangicaro worked in relief.
From there, the Warriors moved on to Wednesday’s home opener against Cazenovia and again starred at the plate in a 10-1 romp over the Lakers.
Four runs in the bottom of the third inning off Katie McLean put Westhill in charge, and it added three-run outbursts in the fifth and sixth innings for good measure to help Secreti, who combined with Mangicaro on a two-hitter.
Meanwhile, Westhill got 17 hits, 16 of them singles. Allison Haynes led the way, driving in three runs, with Lauren Kelly earning two RBIs. Secreti, Mangicaro and Arsenault drove in one run apiece.
Even after the Solvay defeat, Westhill could feel good because, on Friday, it escaped the wet weather and flew out to the Disney Wide World of Sports complex in Florida for a week of spring-break activity.