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.