Apr 28, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
On and on they went, the West Genesee and Liverpool softball teams, both of them managing to match each other last Thursday in a game that nearly spanned the length of a doubleheader.
Finally, it was the Wildcats emerging with a 9-8, 13-inning victory, a major boost of confidence for a team eager to see if it can challenge Cicero-North Syracuse atop the Class AA ranks.
It started normally enough, Liverpool notching single runs in each of the first three innings to seize a 3-0 lead. WG fought back, though, scoring twice in the fourth and again in the fifth to forge a 3-3 tie.
And it stayed that way for a while. Through the rest of regulation, plus two extra innings, WG and Liverpool remained stuck at 3-3, pitchers Morgan Nichols (for the Wildcats) and Dana Nicoletti (for the Warriors) not yielding a bit.
In the 10th inning, the international rules of placing a runner on second base kicked in, and WG got a run to move in front 4-3, only to have Liverpool answer in the bottom of the 10th, and at 4-4 the game continued.
Neither side scored in the 11th inning. Then, in the top of the 12th, the Wildcats appeared golden when it earned three runs to get a 7-4 lead – but incredibly, the Warriors made it all up in the bottom of the 12th, getting it to 7-7 on Peyton Bellrose’s three-run home run, but not able to win it.
When WG, with a run in the top of the 13th brought home by Austin Ray Briggman’s clutch double, took the lead for the third time in extra frames, no one felt safe until Nichols, who pitched all 13 innings (as did Nicoletti), managed to keep Liverpool off the board and get the final three outs to end one of the longest games in either program’s history.
Tess Andrews led the Wildcats’ attack with three hits, including a double, and three RBIs. Jenna Amidon also had three hits and drove in two runs, while Kaleigh Churchill scored three times and got a single and double. Sierra Smith scored a pair of runs and Kaleigh McGraw added an RBI.
Back on Tuesday, WG gained a valuable (and far more conventional) victory against Baldwinsville, never trailing as it defeated the Bees 5-1.
With a run in the first inning, the Wildcats showed it could solve B’ville’s tough senior pitcher, Liz Campbell. After the Bees tied it 1-1 in the top of the third, WG moved ahead for keeps with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third, tacking on a pair of insurance tallies in the sixth.
Churchill had two hits, scored two runs and earned an RBI. Nichols, Andrews and Amidon also drove in runs, and Nichols managed to out-pitch Campbell, too, holding B’ville to seven hits, not allowing a walk and recording seven strikeouts.
And WG made it two in a row Wednesday, rallying past Fayetteville-Manlius 7-3. A three-run third inning had put the Hornets in front, and through the early stages the Wildcats had difficulty breaking through against F-M pitcher Marisa Duval.
But in the bottom of the fifth, everything changed. WG batted around and scored five runs, getting big hits from Andrews, who finished with a double, triple and three RBIs, and Amidon, who also doubled and drove in three runs. Churchill would score twice.
After her struggles in the third inning, Nichols settled down and blanked F-M the rest of the way, holding the Hornets to three hits and, again, striking out seven.
WG had lost, 9-0, to Sandy Creek last Monday in a game made up from an April 20 weather postponement.
Amidon pitched, giving Nichols a rest, and the defending Class C champion Comets tagged her for 12 hits, two each by Michaela Martin, Shania Darling and Viktoria White, with its big rally a four-run outburst in the sixth.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats could not solve Sandy Creek ace Chelsea Claflin, who struck out 12 and surrendered just two hits in six innings of work.