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Oneida holds off Chittenango in Class A semis

So the Oneida softball team stands on the brink of earning a second consecutive Section III Class A championship.

For the top-seeded Indians, getting there required going to the brink.

A big lead nearly got away in Wednesday night's Class A semifinal against no. 5 seed Chittenango at Hopkins Road Park in Liverpool before Oneida hung on and elminated the Bears 8-6.

For a long while in this game, the main theme was how Erika Williams and the Indians' veteran group of hitters cooled down red-hot Chittenango pitching ace Kaleigh Koegel with a pair of big rallies.

In the bottom of the second inning, Williams drove in the game's first run with a double, and two more runs followed to put Oneida up 3-0.

The fourth inning proved even more crucial. Blanked by Indians pitcher Maria Rocco up to that point, the Bears loaded the bases, then saw pinch-hitter Mackenzie Perry lace a single that brought home a pair of runs.

Oneida would atone, and then some, in the bottom of the fifth. Like Chittenango, it would load the bases, then convert when Williams belted a two-run double.

But it didn't stop there. A bad throw on Jenna Delgenio's bunt allowed both Mary Sheridan and Williams to score, making it 7-2, and still nobody was out. Two ground balls, the last one by Jenna Didio, allowed Delgenio to come home for another run.

Despite all this, the Bears would not go away. In the fifth, Koegel, partially atoning for her struggles in the pitcher's circle, smacked a two-run home run to cut the deficit to 8-4.

Emily LaSalle replaced Rocco and kept it there until the seventh, when Brittany Inman tried to close things out - but Chittenango almost caught up.

Brigitta Martin led off with a walk, then moved to third on Brandy McDermott's double. Though Koegel struck out, she reached first when the third strike was dropped, creating yet another bases-loaded situation.

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