A single, unpleasant memory provides ample motivation for the Cazenovia softball team going into the 2012 season.
Favored to make a run at the Section III Class B title a year ago, the Lakers went 13-6 and garnered a no. 3 seed for the sectional tournament, only to see Solvay knock them out 5-4 in the sectional quarterfinals.
That defeat to the Bearcats stuck with Cazenovia, who has worked hard in the off-season, that work culminating in a scrimmage against defending sectional champion Phoenix on May 28 in the Carrier Dome.
Head coach Ed Roickle still has a young squad, with just two seniors to go with seven freshmen, three sophomores and three juniors. Even with that youth, though, the Lakers could be set for another championship push.
At the very least, the initial outing left an impression, as Cazenovia ventured to Austin Park Monday and flattened its fellow Lakers from Skaneateles in a 28-2 romp.
Cazenovia scored at least twice in each inning, including a five-run fifth and an eight-run outburst in the top of the seventh, on the way to 18 hits overall.
Nicole White, in particular, was unstoppable, earning a career-best eight RBIs off three hits and scoring four runs. Rachel McLaughlin crossed the plate seven times to set another personal mark as she also got three hits and three RBIs.
Haley O’Brien also drove in three runs, while Sarah Liddell, Rebeckah Swart, Nicole Chiarello and Maggie Johnson each had two RBIs. Chiarello scored four times and Liddell had three runs scored.
Chiarello pitched, too, and though she surrendered five hits and watched her teammates commit five errors, she still managed to amass 11 strikeouts in her complete-game effort.
Two days later, the Lakers hosted Marcellus, and things turned around in a hurry as Cazenovia squandered two different leads and lost to the Mustangs 9-6.