Armed with a veteran pitcher in Gabrielle Nurod and a solid lineup around her, the Solvay softball team might be in position for a special 2010 season.
At least the opening assignment was cleared with grace and ease, as the Bearcats shut down Hannibal last Monday afternoon and recorded a 7-0 shutout.
From start to finish, Nurod had the Warriors guessing wrong. On her way to a two-hit shutout, Nurod piled up 13 strikeouts without a single walk allowed.
Ahead 1-0, the Bearcats made its decisive move in the bottom of the third inning, scoring five times off Hannibal pitcher Jamie Keding. Shannon Slowik tripled and finished with two RBIs as Kiersten Dibello and Daniella Tartaro drove in one run apiece.
As this went on, Jordan-Elbridge and Marcellus both had their openers, too, though both met with defeat - the Eagles to Phoenix 2-0, the Mustangs to Cazenovia 6-2.
J-E pitcher Jenn Gasparek matched Phoenix ace Brittany Sears for five innings, neither side giving away anything.
Only once did Gasparek blink -- but it proved costly as Phoenix got both of its runs in the top of the sixth.
Overall, Gasparek allowed seven hits and earned five strikeouts in her complete-game effort. Sears countered with a four-hit shutout that included 16 strikeouts, and she also drove in one of those two runs, the other RBI going to Breezy Riggall.
Marcellus, in its season-opener at Cazenovia, blanked the Lakers in the last five innings -- but its early stumbles proved too much to overcome.
Before Molly MacLachlan, the Mustangs' new pitcher, could get settled, she let Cazenovia score three times in both the first and second innings as Kara Stadler (triple, two RBIs) led the way.
The Mustangs finally got on the board in the top of the sixth, where Tabby McBride and Caitlin Henderson both earned RBIs. But the Mustangs had just five hits off Laker pitchers Meaghan Kuracz and Nicole Chiarello.