J-D softball reaches semifinals; F-M, Grimes beaten

It almost turned into a sweep for the three local softball teams remaining in the Section III playoffs.

Yet only Jamesville-DeWitt made it through, the no. 6 seed Red Rams relying on superb pitching from Jenn Keeler to pick up a 1-0 victory over New Hartford in the Class A quarterfinals.

In that same round in Class AA, Fayetteville-Manlius had a lead deep into the game against top seed and defending champion Liverpool, only to take a 5-3 loss to the Warriors. And in the Class C-1 semifinals, Bishop Grimes lost a 10-9, eight-inning decision to Thousand Islands.

J-D, the no. 6 seed in Class A, went first, playing on Friday at no. 3 seed New Hartford, and Keeler did everything possible to push her team past the Spartans.

Already pitching well, Keeler came to the plate in the top of the third inning and, with Tessa Devereaux on base, delivered a single that brought Devereaux home.

From there, New Hartford pitcher Katie Cadieux shut J-D down, only allowing four hits, two of them from Ashley Thompson.

Keeler had to maintain her shutout - and she did, with a two-hit effort that included 12 strikeouts. J-D will face no. 2 seed Homer in Wednesday's Class A semifinal at Hopkins Road Park in Liverpool, with the winner to get Oneida or Chittenango in Saturday's final at the Gillete Road complex in Cicero.

Moving to Saturday, F-M, who had lost to Liverpool twice in the regular season, appeared it be on its way to one of the playoff's biggest upsets.

Against Warrior pitching ace Tiffany Sampere, the Hornets put together a three-run rally in the top of the first inning, all of them unearned. Nora Gallagher and Meg Stoeckel both had hits and scored runs, and Kristen Carey also scored.

Now it was up to Amy Bright to protect that lead. Liverpool got to her for single runs in the second and third innings, and in the fifth the Warriors went in front with three runs, the key hits coming from Emily Dumas and Sampere, who capped the rally with a double.

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