Softball Lakers battle for league title

Locked in a tight battle with Westhill for the OHSL Liberty division regular-season title, the Cazenovia softball team did its part to stay in front with two more league wins.

Hosting Solvay Wednesday at Veterans' Park, the Lakers were behind late, but got the runs it needed to rally past the Bearcats 6-4.

A busy first inning saw Solvay score twice, only to have Cazenovia get three runs in response. The Bearcats quickly tied it, 3-3, then notched a run in the fifth inning to pull in front.

Again, Cazenovia would come back, using two runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull ahead and another run in the sixth for insurance.

Abby Eschen produced three RBIs to lead the Lakers' attack. Emily Mastropaolo, Korena Fenton and Taylor Malmsheimer drove in runs, too, as Malmsheimer scored twice.

Again, the pitching duties got split. Meaghan Kurucz went the first four innings before Nicole Chiarello relieved her and struck out five in her three-inning stint to earn the win.

Two days later, at Jordan-Elbridge, the Lakers struck again, beating the Eagles 9-4 with a combination of the Eagles' generosity and its own ability to take advantage of those gifts.

Cazenovia managed just four hits on this day - but they were well-timed, and with J-E making five errors, it wasn't too difficult to produce runs.

Already ahead 2-0, the Lakers broke it open with five runs in the top of the third, making it 7-0 and allowing Cazenovia to withstand the Eagles' four-run response in the bottom of that inning.

Kara Stadler got credit for a pair of RBIs, while Melanie Arehart had an RBI and scored four times, nearly half her team's output. Chiarello scored twice as Malmsheimer, Eschen and Belle Hoagland also scored.

Kurucz pitched four innings, but after J-E rallied in the fourth, Chiarello took over and, in three innings of relief, rang up six strikeouts.

To get the OHSL Liberty title, Cazenovia (9-1 league, 10-3 overall) might need to win all of its remaining regular-season games against Hannibal (a doubleheader on Monday), Skaneateles and Phoenix.

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