Canastota, Hamilton softball reach semifinals

For a trio of area softball teams, the drama surrounding the Section III playoffs was either drawn out, or ended too quickly.

Canastota, the no. 2 seed in Class B, almost didn't make it to the semifinals. In a long-delayed quarterfinal last Tuesday, no. 10 seed Marcellus dragged them through 11 innings before the Raiders finally prevailed 3-2.

A pair of first-inning runs by the Mustangs held up for a while as Canastota trailed 2-0 going into the bottom of the sixth. But it tied things up when an error and wild pitch led to run-scoring singles from Patterelli and Alexis Havens.

From there, it turned into a stalemate through four more innings, Patterelli (who finished with 11 strikeouts) and the Mustangs' Molly MacLachlan keeping it 1-1, even as the 10th inning brought the international tie-breaking rule of a runner placed at second to start the inning.

Then Canastota catcher Valerie Baer won it. First, she tagged Marcellus runner Jessie Manahan trying to score in the top of the 11th off a great throw from Ally Bernier. Then, with the winning run on third in the bottom of the 11th, Baer laid down a suicide squeeze bunt, catching the Mustangs off guard as Sam McCarthy dashed home with the decisive run.

Hamilton, the no. 2 seed in Class D, moved into the second week of the playoffs after a 5-0 victory over no. 7 seed Belleville-Henderson in last Saturday's quarterfinals.

Becca Rogers held B-H to two hits, and finally got some help when the Emerald Knights scored all of its runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Jessica Welsh managed two hits, while Kelby Watkins tripled and Sara Whyatt earned a double.

This leads to Wednesday's Class D semifinal against no. 6 seed Poland, who had upended no. 3 seed New York Mills to get to this point.

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