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Solvay, Westhill softball reach Class B semis

For the second round in a row, the Solvay and Westhill softball teams went to the brink in the Section III Class B playoffs and still found themselves alive when it was done.

In Saturday's Class B quarterfinals, the no. 6 seed Bearcats went to Cazenovia and edged the no. 3 seed Lakers 5-4, while the no. 4 seed Warriors were pushed to 10 innings by no. 5 seed and defending champion South Jefferson before pulling out a 1-0 win.

Having already beaten Cazenovia in the regular season, the Bearcats, who had needed nine innings to survive Ilion 1-0 in the opening round, had little trepidation about the match-up with the Lakers, battling to a 1-1 tie through five innings. And then it really got fun.

Solvay appeared to get control with three runs off Nicole Chiarello in the top of the sixth, only to see the Lakers answer with three runs of its own off Julie Gardner in the bottom of the sixth.

In the seventh, the Bearcats inched ahead, but had to sweat out a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam in the bottom of the seventh as Gardner somehow worked her way out of it to end Cazenovia's season.

Gardner finished with a double and two RBIs, while Tiffney Guinta tripled and scored twice. Kiersten Dibello and Sydney Cimini, who also tripled, earned one RBI apiece as Chelsie Delperuto added a double of her own.

As this went on, Westhill followed up its 2-1 first-round nail-biter over CBA with a game against South Jefferson that took even longer to decide.

Ace Toni Secreti locked into another great duel, this time with the Spartans' Brooke LaLone. They went through seven regulation innings and two extra frames 0-0, Westhill only managing three hits in those nine frames against LaLone.

After Secreti survived her side of the 10th, when international rules put a runner on second base, the Warriors finally won it when Makenzie Davis doubled home Chelsea Trichillo. Thus, Secreti was rewarded for her four-hit shutout where she struck out 10 Spartan batters.

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