Over the course of a week, the Jamesville-DeWitt, East Syracuse-Minoa and Christian Brothers Academy softball teams would face each other in a trio of league contests, the Spartans salvaging a split by the time it was done.
That round-robin got going last Tuesday, when J-D visited ESM and, with timely hitting and a solid pitching effort from Kerri Keeler, beat the Spartans 6-1.
Keeler got 10 of her 13 strikeouts in the first four innings, only surrendering a first-inning run on Nikki Casella’s RBI double that scored Danielle Ventrone and put ESM up 1-0.
In the second inning, J-D tied it, 1-1, and moved out in front in the third when Ventrone twice threw wild pitches that scored Paige Sherling and Maggie Austin.
The key moment came in the bottom of the fifth, when ESM loaded the bases with one out and had two of its best hitters coming up But Keeler coaxed Brittany Evans to pop up in the infield, and snared Ventrone’s hard-hit grounder for the third out.
Fired up by that escape, J-D scored twice in the sixth, both coming home on Alyssa Robens’ double, and added a run in the seventh for the final margin.
ESM lost again a day later in a 5-4, eight-inning classic to Mexico, where the Spartans trailed 3-1 before tying it with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. It stayed 3-3 until the eighth, when the Tigers scored twice and ESM could only manage a run in response.
Michelle Burgun pitched for the Spartans, striking out seven and allowing seven hits. Ventrone, Tiffany Evans and Courtney Legare each had one RBI as Casella scored twice. For Mexico, Carissa Woolson had two hits and two RBIs as Kennedy Lamb limited ESM to five hits.
Badly needing a win, ESM paid a visit Thursday to CBA, who had won four in a row and looked to avenge a 4-3 defeat to the Spartans on April 9. Again, it proved close – and again, the Spartans won by a single run, edging past the Brothers this time in a 2-1 verdict.