One timely win helped spring the Cazenovia softball team back into the race for the OHSL Liberty division regular-season championship.
The Lakers went to Solvay last Monday afternoon and used a mid-game offensive surge to take control before hanging on to beat the Bearcats 7-6.
Prior to that, Solvay had not lost a league game, including a 4-3 win over Cazenovia in their first encounter on April 15. Less than a month later, it was just as close, but with a different result.
The Lakers scored twice in the third inning and added three more runs in the fourth to build a 5-0 lead. Solvay closed it to 5-4 in the bottom of the fourth, only to see Cazenovia score twice in the top of the fifth.
Taylor Malmsheimer, Kara Stalder and Meghan Kurucz each put up three hits, while Korena Fenton belted a two-run home run. Stalder also had two RBIs as she and Abby Eschen both scored twice.
Charged with protecting that lead, pitcher Nicole Chiarello nearly found trouble in the bottom of the seventh, Solvay scoring twice to pull within one. But Chiarello got the final out.
Back home on Wednesday, Cazenovia faced surging Marcellus and cooled them down, too, easily working its way to an 8-1 win over the Mustangs.
Chiarello limited Marcellus to seven hits and a single run in the sixth. By that time, the Lakers had a 6-0 edge and would score in every inning but the fourth on its way to 12 hits.
Malmsheimer, Belle Hoagland, Emily Mastropaolo and Kelly Dougherty each smacked two hits, with Malmsheimer and Hoagland scoring two runs apiece. Chiarello, Stalder and Haley O'Brien got credit for RBIs, as did Mastropaolo and Dougherty.
Now within a game of Solvay in the OHSL Liberty standings, the Lakers went to Jordan-Elbridge on Friday and took out the Eagles 7-4. And when Solvay lost 2-1 to Westhill on the same day, the Lakers had taken over first place in the league.