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Caz softball falls to South Jefferson in sectional final

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.

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