Softball Warriors make dramatic run to Class B crown

While Westhill High School has basked in many athletic accomplishments, it had never won a softball championship prior to last week's activity.

And when it finally happened last Wednesday, in the form of a 4-0 shutout of Marcellus at the Gillette Road complex in North Syracuse, the Warriors were far from satisfied.

That determination showed itself, in full bloom, in Saturday's overall Class B final against Canastota, also at Gillette. Two outs from defeat, Westhill came back and stunned the Raiders by a score of 6-5.

"It means that our hard work and dedication paid off," said Brittany Kaiser, who had two big hits during the game. "I'm so proud to be a part of it."

Head coach Gary Griffo said his team's first sectional title means as much to future Westhill squads as it does to this one.

"It lays down a foundation for our program," he said.

Three different times during the playoffs, Westhill had pulled out wins in its last at-bat, doing so to beat Jordan-Elbridge 6-5 in the B-1 quarterfinals and top Cazenovia 1-0 in the B-1 semifinal round.

Against Canastota, the situation was far different, in that the Raiders appeared to have the game in hand, up 5-3 and having just recorded the first out of the top of the seventh inning on Jessica Patterelli's diving catch in foul ground.

But the next two Westhill batters hit ground balls that Canastota infielders flubbed. This loaded the bases for Kaiser, who already had a solo home run on the day. Here, Kaiser smacked a single up the middle, and two runs came home to tie it at 5-5.

"You can advance with skill, but a little luck helps," said Griffo.

Two batters later, and with two outs and a runner on second, Courtney Morgan hit a slow roller to pitcher Liz McGinley. When McGinley threw to first base too late, the go-ahead run raced home. Secreti went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh to seal it.

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