Excitement and drama followed the Bishop Ludden softball team all the way to the Section III Class C-2 championship.
So it made perfect sense that the no. 2 seed Gaelic Knights would need to sweat it out, again, to upend top seed Fabius-Pompey 3-2 in last Wednesday night's C-2 title game at the Gillette Road complex in Cicero.
Stressful or not, Ludden's win was very sweet payback for the Falcons knocking off the Gaelic Knights 4-1 just 12 days earlier in a game that decided OHSL Patriot division regular-season honors.
To make this result different, Ludden had to solve F-P pitcher Grace Skinner, who held them to two hits in that May 21 encounter. Kristen Ryan, more than anyone else, pulled off this feat.
Kim Balla singled and Catie Graf walked to reach base in the top of the second inning. Up stepped Ryan, who ripped a triple deep into the gap, allowing Balla and Graf to score as Ludden seized a 2-0 lead.
Ryan returned in the top of the fourth and, with Balla on second, produced another clutch hit that brought Balla home and made it 3-0.
That extra run would be needed. Korey Kibling shut down the Falcons until the bottom of the sixth, when Maureen Lenehan doubled and later scored, with Courtney Purcell getting the other run to trim the margin to one.
Once Kibling escaped that jam, she pitched a scoreless seventh to seal the win and the C-2 championship. Overall, she allowed five hits and two walks while striking out six as Skinner finished with five strikeouts.
Ludden will face South Lewis for the overall Class C championship Saturday at Gillette. The Falcons, as the top seed, won the Class C-1 title by edging fellow Frontier League squad Thousand Islands 4-3.