Continuing its rise up the state Class B rankings, the Solvay softball team was also interested in hanging on to the top spot in the OHSL Liberty division, especially since Homer was keeping pace and the two sides would meet to close the regular season – and possibly decide the league title.
A key step toward this possible showdown was Friday’s game between the Bearcats and Marcellus. As in so many other games this season, Solvay’s bats made the difference in a 9-3 win over the Mustangs.
Julie Gardner’s RBI triple in the bottom of the first inning put the Bearcats on the board, but the Mustangs briefly went in front 2-1 in the top of the third on Meghan Witkowski’s two-run triple.
Then Jackie Gardner, who was also pitching, put her team in front for good with a bases-clearing double in the bottom of the third, and the lead grew to 6-2 on run-scoring hits from Julie Gardner and Chelsie Delperuto in the fourth.
Not content with her success at the plate, Delperuto contributed a diving catch on Tabby McBride’s deep drive in the fifth to prevent extra bases. Then she drove home two more runs with a sixth-inning triple to put the game away.
What made the game mean more was the fact that Westhill, another one of the pursuers, dropped a 6-5 thriller at Homer on Thursday afternoon.
In the first of two meetings with the Trojans, the Warriors moved ahead 2-0 in the first inning and 4-3 in the fourth inning. Both times, Homer came back, scoring twice in the bottom of the fifth to seize a 5-4 lead.
And there it remained until the seventh. Westhill poked across a run to tie it, 5-5, but in the bottom of that frame Alyssa Morgan, who had already hit a home run for the Trojans, blasted a triple that scored the winning run.