May 19, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A league title was long tucked away, and the Section III Class B playoffs still loomed, but what drove the Solvay softball team was the desire to finish with a perfect regular-season mark – and it would reach that goal with some of its most impressive wins of the season.
The Bearcats appeared to face major hurdles, starting with the fact that top hitter Julie Gardner suffered a knee injury and was forced to miss the last two games of the regular season.
Without her, the Bearcats kicked off what looked like a tough weekend slate with a 5-1 victory over Class AA Central Square, with Chelsie Delperuto all but carrying her team at the plate.
Delperuto hit her seventh home run of the season, added a single and amassed four RBIs as Solvay grabbed a 5-0 lead by the fourth inning. Nicole Antonacci tripled and scored twice as Taylor Guinta also scored a pair of runs.
That was enough for Jackie Gardner, who blanked the Red Hawks until the sixth inning and held them to two hits and one walk, finishing with nine strikeouts.
Julie Gardner was still out when Solvay met up with Class A favorite Oneida on Saturday afternoon. Again, though, that didn’t stop the Bearcats one bit as it went back to its double-digit run habits and beat the Indians 10-3.
Oneida got to Jackie Gardner for a pair of first-inning runs, but any notions of an Indian victory started to dissipate when Solvay answered with a run in the bottom of the first and used four runs in the second to move in front for good.
A five-run fifth inning put it away as, once more, Delperuto tore things up, getting a triple, double, single and walk, scoring twice and finishing with four RBIs. Molly McGuire tripled, got two other hits and drove in a run as Antonacci, Sydney Cimini, Brenna Poli and Jackie Gardner each drove in one run. Gardner pitched another complete game, holding Oneida to four hits.
At 13-0 going into the week, the Bearcats loudly announced its intentions in the first inning of last Tuesday’s game against Cazenovia, which ended with the Lakers put away in an 18-0 romp.
Before the first inning was done, Solvay already had eight runs, and it would score in every inning except the third, garnering 21 hits overall.
Antonacci supplied the power with a home run and two triples, finishing with three RBIs and three runs scored. Cimini doubled three times as part of a four-for-five effort where she drove in a team-best four runs.
McGuire and Kiersten DiBello each had three hits and three RBIs, while Jackie and Julie Gardner both scored four times and Poli managed a pair of RBIs. Jackie Gardner, who also drove in two runs, pitched a two-hit shutout, striking out 12 Cazenovia batters.
Off until Thursday, the Bearcats, in facing Jordan-Elbridge, gave up the most runs it had allowed all season, but still comfortably beat the Eagles 9-3.
Having surrendered just six runs so far (while scoring 227), Solvay got going with five runs in the first two innings and made 8-0 in the fourth. Chelsie Delperuto doubled twice, scored three runs and earned four RBIs, while Jackie and Julie Gardner each drove in two runs.
To its credit, J-E didn’t wilt the way other opponents did, getting on the board with a run in the fifth and, keyed by Alexis Rouse’s RBI double, getting to McGuire (who relieved Jackie Gardner in the fifth) for a pair of runs in the seventh, a small victory by itself. Combined, Gardner and McGuire had nine strikeouts.
Solvay, as expected, drew the Class B top seed. More importantly, it got a first-round bye, something no one else in the 15-team bracket received, and it awaits a quarterfinal late this week against either no. 8 seed Westhill or no. 9 seed Cazenovia.