With impressive wins over Cazenovia and Chittenango as the starting point, the Oneida softball team now set out to conquer the Tri-Valley League again - but found out, quickly, that it might prove difficult to pull off.
In a tense showdown Thursday against Whitesboro, the Indians were stingy, only to find the Warriors more so in a 2-1 defeat.
Maria Rocco found herself in a terrific pitching duel with Whitesboro's Brittany Pogoda, and Pogoda got the better of it, blanking Oneida in the first five innings.
Meanwhile, the Warriors poked across a run in the bottom of the first, then scored again in the fifth, Allie Webb getting both runs as Oneida trailed 2-0.
Finally, the Indians earned a run in the sixth as Erika Williams scored off Melissa Murawski's single, but Pogoda allowed nothing more, closing the game out as she limited Oneida to three hits overall. Rocco gave up six hits.
The two-time defending Section III Class A champion Indians brought out lots of offense in last Monday's game against Utica-Notre Dame, handling the Jugglers 16-3.
Oneida had at least three runs in each of the first four innings to build a 16-2 cushion, ultimately earning 18 hits from nine different players.
Jenna Didio had four of those hits, including a home run, and finished with four RBIs. Jaime Delgenio added a triple and three RBIs and scored three times as Jaclyn Cavanagh also had three runs scored. Williams managed three hits as Rocco, Ann DuChene and Shannon Hollenbeck each drove in two runs.
When Vernon-Verona-Sherrill had its Tri-Valley opener on Tuesday against Camden, it garnered enough offense for an 8-6 victory over the Blue Devils.
The Red Devils led 5-0 through two innings and 8-3 through five innings. Despite this, and despite having 12 hits to Camden's two, the Red Devils had to hang on as the Blue Devils scored three times in the top of the seventh, aided by a series of VVS mistakes, and had the tying runs on base with one out.