Even with all the bad weather that caused a steady stream of postponements, the Cazenovia softball team fought its way to a 5-4 record and was on the brink of qualifying for the Section III playoffs.
But that point turned moot when Section III announced last Monday that it would waive the rule that a team needed a .400 record to reach the sectional tournament, citing the massive backup in the schedule and a chance that not everyone would get to play the maximum 20 games this spring.
Assured of a post-season berth, the Lakers could relax, and maybe that had to do with its solid effort in a doubleheader split last Monday against Marcellus. Cazenovia lost the opener 4-1 as the Mustangs scored twice in the first inning, all the runs it would need.
Janie Kempf’s second-inning triple drove home Samantha Morgan with the lone Lakers run. Marcellus sophomore Evelyn Webster, who had an historic 11-RBI effort (one RBI short of the single-game state record) and hit for the cycle against Hannibal on May 3, did more damage here with a home run, double and two RBIs.
But in the second game, Cazenovia won, 8-7, over Marcellus, notching three runs in the first inning and five runs in the third to bolt to an 8-0 lead. Morgan and Allie Hotchkiss both hit home runs and combined for five RBIs, scoring two runs apiece as Carli Cunningham also drove in a run.
Also handling the pitching duties, Morgan kept cool even when the Mustangs chipped away, scoring three runs in the third and fourth innings. Giving up another run in the bottom of the fifth, Morgan was still able to record the last out.
Up against defending Section III Class B champion Altmar-Parish-Williamstown last Wednesday afternoon, Cazenovia lost, 7-4, unable to overcome the Rebels scoring twice in the second and third innings to build up an early 4-0 edge.
The Lakers cut the deficit to 4-2 in the fourth, but APW countered with two runs in the fifth and a run in the seventh. Clemets drove in two runs as she and Abbie Avery both earned two hits, as did Hotchkiss, who pitched six innings and recorded three strikeouts. Matteson scored two runs as Morgan and Delaney Yorks also scored runs.
Then, on Friday, Cazenovia swept a doubleheader from Hannibal, claiming the first game 9-2 as it broke a 2-2 tie with a run in the second inning and five runs in the bottom of the third to get clear.
Morgan led with a single, double, two runs scored and an RBI as Abbie Avery also scored twice. Avery, Hotchkiss, Yorks, Clemets, Cunningham, Kempf and Leah Gamlen each had an RBI in the Lakers’ well-balanced lineup.
The second game was a 3-0 Cazenovia shutout of Hannibal where Morgan held the Warriors to three hits and earned seven strikeouts. All of the Lakers’ runs came in the second and third innings as Cunningham, Kempf and Danielle Tedesco each got credit for an RBI.
Chittenango, who started the week at 4-6, also had the pressure of reaching the playoffs off them, and celebrated last Tuesday with a 14-6 victory over Hannibal where it scored runs in each of the first six innings, peaking with a four-run rally in the top of the second that broke a 3-3 tie and put the Bears ahead for good.
Trisha Whaley went four-for-five, tripling twice and driving in four runs. Morgan Shoemaker had three hits, four runs scored and three RBIs as Shayla Muncy, Sydney Bennett and Anna Geller got one RBI apiece. Muncy, Whaley, Cassidy Kelly and Alexa Rossi each scored two runs.
Then, on Thursday, Chittenango took its own turn with Marcellus and beat them, 10-8, keeping its poise even though it saw leads of 5-0 and 8-5 disappear, mostly due to the Mustangs netting four runs in the fifth and three runs in the sixth off Bears pitcher Alexa Rossi.
In the bottom of the sixth, Chittenango scored twice to break the 8-8 tie, and Rossi managed to toss a scoreless seventh inning to win it. Bennett and Katy Myka both had two hits and two RBIs as Shoemaker, Whaley, Kelly, Muncy, Rossi and Anna Geiler also drove in runs as part of a balanced Bears attack.