Four local softball teams found themselves in the midst of the Section III Class B playoffs, none of them facing more pressure than Solvay, whose undefeated regular season led to a no. 1 seed and high expectations to win it all.
At least through the first phase, the Bearcats were doing just fine, as it took out no. 9 seed Cazenovia 9-0 in Monday’s quarterfinal round.
Already well-rested thanks to a first-round bye, Solvay got more rest when bad weather pushed the early rounds back, so by the time the Bearcats took the field again, nine days had passed since its May 18 regular-season finale, a win over Oneida.
None of that rust showed, though, as Solvay got to Cazenovia pitcher Josie Chiarello for three runs in the bottom of the first innings and three more runs in the fourth, all in support of pitcher Jackie Gardner, who tossed a two-hit shutout where she struck out 15 Laker batters.
Chelsie Delperuto amassed five RBIs at the plate, the big blow a bases-clearing triple. Brenna Poli added a pair of RBIs as Shanen Sullivan scored three runs.
On the other end of the Class B sectional bracket, Marcellus, the no. 7 seed off its first league title in 32 years, also had to wait two days for its opening-round game against no. 10 seed Phoenix, and then had to battle hard to earn a 6-4 victory over no. 10 seed Phoenix.
The Mustangs, who split two regular-season meetings with Phoenix, were out to avenge a 4-3 defeat to the Firebirds on May 15 that broke up an 11-game win streak, but saw leads of 2-1 and 4-3 slip away as Phoenix tied it, 4-4, in the top of the sixth.
But in the bottom of the sixth, Molly MacLachlan delivered a clutch double that scored Clare Manahan and Jennie Delia with the go-ahead runs, and MacLachlan pitched a scoreless seventh to preserve the win. Manahan finished with three hits as Jayme Lema produced a pair of RBIs.