Jun 07, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Now the Cazenovia softball team was doing something.
Five frustrating innings were behind the Lakers, and it had just tied South Jefferson in Monday’s Section III Class B championship game at the Gillette Road complex in Cicero. Keep up this momentum, and a 30-year title drought would end.
Yet as soon as the door opened for Cazenovia, it got slammed on them. The Spartans used daring strategy and one big clutch hit in the bottom of the sixth to get four runs and eventually beat the Lakers 6-2.
At the heart of it all, though, was the way South Jefferson pitcher Jena Lalone baffled Cazenovia’s potent lineup in a game delayed two days by bad weather – pop-up rain storms on Saturday, a more drenching rain on Sunday.
Cazenovia’s Korena Fenton led off the game with an infield hit, stole second and reached third base on a groundout. It looked like the Lakers would seize immediate control.
Instead, Lalone struck out both Belle Hoagland and Emily Mastropaolo, using off-speed pitches as a contrast to the power pitchers the Lakers had faced throughout the season in the OHSL Liberty division
All told, Lalone would earn nine strikeouts and blank Cazenovia through five innings, during which time the Spartans inched its way ahead 2-0 through the Lakers’ defensive struggles.
Two errors – one that got Amanda Roberts to reach base, the other on Danielle Bartlett’s single – allowed Roberts to score in the bottom of the second, and another error in the third led to Lalone’s RBI single.
It remained 2-0 until Lindsay Easterly, Cazenovia’s no. 9 hitter, led off the sixth with a double. Fenton reached on a bunt, and though Taylor Malshmeimer grounded out, Nicole White, running for Easterly, scored to make it 2-1.
Hoagland struck out, but Matstropaolo delivered a clutch single up the middle that brought Fenton home with the tying run.
The 2-2 draw would not last, though. Roberts led off the bottom of the sixth on an infield hit, went to second when a force play didn’t work, and reached third on a sacrifice bunt.
Danielle LaFlesh then laid down a squeeze bunt, just in front of home plate, and Roberts beat the tag to score, putting the Spartans back ahead 3-2.
Trying to minimize the damage, Nicole Chiarello instead loaded the bases with two out – then saw Katy Murphy crush a triple to the wall that cleared the bases and all but clinched the victory.
As South Jefferson advanced to the Class B regional against Chenango Valley, Cazenovia pondered the end of a magical 18-4 season that included a share of the OHSL Liberty division regular-season title and playoff wins over the likes of Marcellus and Westhill.
And the best part is that everyone – Chiarello, Hoagland, Malmsheimer, Mastropaolo, Easterly, Fenton, Abby Eschen, Melanie Arehart and Kara Stalder – comes back in 2011, determined to take that last step toward a title.