An alarm went through the ranks of the Cazenovia softball team in the first inning of Saturday's Section III Class B quarterfinal against Marcellus at Veterans' Park.
The no. 11 seed Mustangs touched up the no. 3 Lakers for two runs in that opening frame, attempting to avenge two regular-season losses - just as it had done in eliminating Phoenix in the previous round.
As it turned out, the alarm registered - and the Lakers quickly tied things up, then move ahead in the later stages and beat Marcellus 5-3.
Cazenovia had opened the season by topping Marcellus 6-2 at home on April 5, then followed it up by holding off the late-charging Mustangs 9-7 in the rematch at Marcellus four weeks later.
Now came the third encounter, where pitcher Nicole Chiarello met with trouble in that first inning, hurt in no small part by poor defense as the Lakers eventually had five errors on the day.
Angry at kicking away runs, Cazenovia promptly scored twice off Marcellus pitcher Molly MacLachlan to tie it in the bottom of the first, then watched Chiarello settle down as she blanked Marcellus over the next four innings.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Lakers inched in front 3-2, following that up with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, the latter coming after Marcellus had cut the lead to 4-3 in the top of the sixth.
Taylor Malmsheimer smacked a pair of doubles that led to two RBIs, while Korena Fenton also produced a pair of hits. Chiarello, Emily Mastropaolo and Melanie Arehart also drove in runs, with Abby Eschen adding a double. Kara Stadler and Lindsay Easterly scored runs.
Chiarello, effective throughout the game's late stages, finished with a complete-game four-hitter that included three strikeouts and no walks.
This sets up a highly-anticipated Class B semifinal on Wednesday between Cazenovia and no. 2 seed Westhill. The two sides shared the OHSL Liberty division regular-season title and split their two meetings.
So this will serve as the tie-breaker, and will also determine who gets to face Altmar-Parish-Williamstown or South Jefferson in Saturday's Class B final at the Gillette Road complex in Cicero.