Solvay softball starts 2-0; Westhill beaten

What figures to be another exciting spring for area softball teams got going late last week as the temperatures gradually warmed up.

Of the local sides, Solvay had the best marks, opening Friday with a 5-4 victory over Jordan-Elbridge and moving on Saturday to a 5-0 shutout of Bishop Grimes.

Against the Eagles, the Bearcats used a four-run second inning, all from Shannen Sullivan's grand slam, to move in front, only to see J-E counter with four runs of its own in the top of the third, most of them brought home by Alexis Rouse's three-run home run off Julie Gardner.

From there, though, Gardner blanked J-E and finished with nine strikeouts as Solvay used Sydney Cimini's RBI single in the fourth inning off Rouse to move ahead for good. Gardner also scored a pair of runs.

Against Bishop Grimes a day later, it was 0-0 until the sixth inning, Brenna Poli and the Cobras' Nicole Donati engaged in a spirited pitcher's duel.

Then, in the top of the sixth, Solvay erupted for four runs, three of them brought home on Gardner's triple, as a run in the seventh brought further insurance. Poli handled the rest, finishing off a one-hit shutout that included six strikeouts.

Westhill, considered by some the favorite in the OHSL Liberty division, suffered an early blow when Cazenovia arrived Friday and beat the Warriors 5-3.

Toni Secreti, the Warriors' veteran pitching ace, had 11 strikeouts, but watched the Lakers score twice in the third and fifth innings, all the runs it needed. Kelly Mascari and Katie Clark joined Mascari as they drove led a late Westhill comeback, but it fell just short. Taylor Malmsheimer led the Lakers with three hits and two RBIs as pitcher Nicole Chiarello struck out 10.

Marcellus waited until Saturday to take the field for the first time, and there it rode a fine pitching performance from Molly MacLachlan to beat the Auburn Maroons 3-0.

On her way to a three-hit shutout, MacLachlan only earned one strikeout, but got stellar defense behind her. Finally, the support arrived when the Mustangs notched two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and another run in the sixth.

Jesse Manahan hit a solo home run. MacLachlan got two of her team's four hits, scoring a run as Tabby McBride doubled and earned an RBI.

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