Just as quickly as the Cazenovia softball team appeared to emerge as the favorite in the OHSL Liberty division, that status got thrown into question after a pair of painful defeats.
On the heels of its 5-3 win at Westhill on April 8, the Lakers went to Christian Brothers Academy last Monday afternoon - and promptly took a 2-1 loss to the Brothers.
It started out as a duel between pitchers Nicole Chiarello and Jordan-Sheridan. But in the bottom of the fourth inning, Sheridan broke the 0-0 tie when she drilled a solo home run off Chiarello.
Cazenovia tied it, 1-1, in the top of the fifth, Belle Hoagland's single bringing home Korena Fenton. But CBA immediately countered with a run of its own in the bottom of that frame, Hannah Morris singling home Monica Hanson.
Sheridan did the rest, limiting the Lakers to five hits overall and getting superb defense behind her. Chiarello, in defeat, threw a four-hitter that included eight strikeouts.
On Friday (following a 48-hour weather postponement), the Lakers hoped to have a chance at a quick recovery when it visited Solvay, a team that had roared out to a 3-0 start and was making its case as a league title contender.
And for much of the afternoon, all went fine for the Lakers - but a stunning rally in the late stages by the Bearcats left Cazenovia on the wrong end of a 4-3 decision.
Chiarello blanked Solvay through five innings, rarely surrendering anything as her teammates got to Bearcats pitcher Julie Gardner for single runs in the first, third and fifth. Taylor Malmsheimer had two hits and scored twice as Hoagland's pair of doubles led to two RBIs. Fenton also scored.
Suddenly, Solvay sprang to life in the bottom of the sixth, cutting the margin to 3-2. Then it maintained the momentum by getting the tying and winning runs off Chiarello in the seventh. Nicole Groth's two-run home run keyed the rally.