Jun 04, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Both the West Genesee and Solvay softball teams wanted to walk out of Hopkins Road Park in Liverpool Saturday with unlikely Section III championships, but neither would pull it off.
In its first-ever Class AA final, the no. 3 seed Wildcats had undefeated, no. 1 seed and defending champion Cicero-North Syracuse concerned until a big fifth inning by the Northstars sank WG’s chances in a 7-0 defeat.
Later that day, Solvay, the no. 6 seed in Class B, was leading top seed Adirondack in its sectional title game, only to seed a combination of defensive mistakes and potent Wildcats bats lead to a 9-4 defeat.
This marked the second time during the week that WG was playing at Hopkins, having staged a dramatic comeback to upend no. 2 seed Liverpool 4-3 in the AA semifinals on Wednesday night. Topping CNS, who had beaten the Wildcats 6-2 two weeks earlier and was trying to earn its second consecutive title (and third in four years), would prove tougher.
Yet for four innings, WG pitcher Ashely Amidon kept the Northstars without a hit as the game remained 0-0. The great defense seen against Liverpool, which included a triple play, continued here, too, as the Wildcats turned a double play in the bottom of the second and Lexie Myers dove to make a great catch in left field in the fourth.
WG almost took the lead in the top of the second, as Makenzie Glynn reached base on an error and Gabby Rivers singled. But with runners on second and third with one out, CNS ace Sydney O’Hara struck out Katie Regin and Ashley D’Avirro, two of the nine strikeouts she picked up on this day.
So it was still 0-0 going into the bottom of the fifth. Then Sam Cirillo singled, the first CNS hit of the day, and six more hits would follow in this frame as the Northstars picked up all seven of its runs in the decisive rally.
With two on and nobody out, Sarah Salamone hit a double just beyond a diving Myers’ reach, scoring both runs. Another single by Kelly Corbin made it 3-0, and before Amidon could escape, Brittany Paul delivered a two-run single and Cirillo, with her second hit of the inning, drove home two more runs with a double.
Unable to recover, WG saw O’Hara finish off a three-hit shutout, and the Wildcats’ season ended with a 15-2 record as seven seniors – Amidon, Glynn, Rivers, Myers, Christina Sakran, Lauren Shepherd and Rachel Hayden – depart as the most successful class in the program’s history.
As that game was finishing, Solvay was tuning up to face Adirondack, having survived three consecutive one-run playoff decisions – over Ilion (1-0), Cazenovia (5-4) and Canastota (4-3) – to reach this title game against a Wildcat squad sporting an 18-2 mark.
Bearcats pitcher Juile Gardner was the central figure in the early stages. Her RBI double in the top of the first inning scored Tiffney Guinta to give Solvay a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the second, Reina Platt’s line drive hit Gardner in the head, but she came right back to face the next batter, Rachel Hitt, whose RBI single tied it 1-1.
With Jenna Tartaro on base and one out in the top of the third, Gardner stepped up again – and crushed Hitt’s pitch on a line over the left-field fence, a two-run home run that pushed the Bearcats back in front 3-1.
Starting in the bottom of the third, though, Solvay’s defensive woes turned the game in Adirondack’s favor. With a run home and one out, a wild pitch from Gardner scored the tying run. Then, on another groundout, a wild throw pushed two runs home, and the Wildcats led 5-3.
Solvay pulled within one, 5-4, in the top of the fifth and loaded the bases, only to see Chelsie Delperuto ground out. Then, with two out in the bottom of the fifth, two straight Bearcats errors on ground balls led to Whitney Bourgeois smacking an RBI single and Erika Charbonneau’s two-run single.
Now trailing 8-4, Solvay could not produce any more offense of its own, as Adirondack tacked on a run in the sixth, again with two out. While disappointed at falling one win short of a sectional title, the Bearcats, who finished 15-7, only see three seniors depart, two of them (Guinta and Tartaro) starters.
Gardner is just a sophomore, as are Shannen Sullivan and Taylor Guinta. Nicole Groth is a junior. Kiersten DiBello, Sydney Cimini and Brenna Poli are finishing their freshman seasons, while Delperuto and Nicole Antonacci are eighth-graders, In other words, Solvay will return in 2012 close to intact, and will be favored to make another championship run.