Softball quartet advances in sectionals

All four of the area's softball teams that played in Section III playoff games won on Thursday, with various amounts of stress.

In Class B, Westhill and Solvay both advanced in one-run decisions. The no. 4 seed Warriors held off no. 13 seed Christian Brothers Academy 2-1, while the no. 6 seed Bearcats needed nine innings to edge no. 11 seed Ilion 1-0.

Westhill had won both regular-season meetings with CBA by narrow margins (2-1, then 1-0), so it was little surprise that the third meeting went the same as Secreti and CBA's Jordan Sheridan engaged in another pitcher's duel.

Sheridan, who struck out 10, made only one big mistake - which Kelly Mascari sent over the fence for a two-run home run in the bottom of the first. That was all Secreti needed as she threw a two-hitter, matching Sheridan's 10-K total and getting fine defense behind her as the Warriors advanced to Saturday's quarterfinal against defending champion South Jefferson.

As this went on, Solvay was locked in a tense battle with Ilion. Through eight innings, neither Bearcats pitcher Julie Gardner nor her Ilion counterpart, Sam Giruzzi, would bend, keeping the game 0-0. Gardner finished with 11 strikeouts as she held the Golden Bombers to four hits and only walked one.

In the bottom of the ninth, Kiersten DiBello reached base, and Shannen Sullivan's hit allowed DiBello to race home with the winning run. DiBello and Nicole Groth each had two hits, while Tiffney Guinta and Chelsie Delperuto also got hits. The Bearcats will visit no. 3 seed Cazenovia in its quarterfinal on Saturday.

Up in Class AA, West Genesee, the no. 3 seed, advanced by relying on runs both early and late to fight past no. 6 seed Rome Free Academy 6-3 in its quarterfinal game.

An early 1-0 deficit vanished when the Wildcats scored two runs in both the first and second innings. The Black Knights cut it to 4-3 in the third inning, but WG used single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to pull clear.

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