Jun 02, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
If it got just a few more outs last Thursday afternoon, the Jordan-Elbridge softball team would short-circuit top seed Westhill’s dreams of a first-ever Section III Class B-1 title.
However, the Warriors stared at elimination and did not blink, coming up with the runs it needed to pull out a 6-5 victory over the no. 8 seed Eagles.
And that proved to be just the first half of a tense pair of playoff contests where, in both instances, the Warriors had to win in its last at-bat.
J-E was familiar with Westhill from two regular-season meetings in the OHSL Liberty division and got to pitching ace Toni Secreti for two runs in the first inning.
Westhill answered those runs in the bottom of the first to tie it, then sneaked across runs in the third and fourth innings to seize a 4-2 edge.
Despite compiling 16 strikeouts, Secreti could not put J-E away — and in the top of the sixth, the Eagles struck for three runs, seizing a 5-4 lead and giving Gasparek a chance to pull off one of the season’s biggest surprises.
Yet Westhill would have the last word in the seventh inning. Katie Hartnett’s single brought pinch-runner Chelsea Trichilo home to tie it 5-5, and when Emily Mangicaro singled home Hartnett, the Warriors moved on.
Catcher Brittany Kaiser produced a pair of early RBIs for Westhill as Allison Haynes and Kaley Arsenault also drove in runs. J-E teammates Sarah Fordyce and Liz Caspari each had two RBIs in J-E’s valiant effort.
Difficult as that was, the Warriors found another major hurdle in Saturday’s B-1 semifinal against no. 4 seed Cazenovia before pulling out a 1-0 decision over the Lakers.
Here, no comeback was required — just a lot of perseverance as Cazenovia’s pitching ace, Katie McLean, locked into a memorable duel with Secreti.
Through three innings, neither side posed a big threat. However, in the top of the fourth, the Lakers loaded the bases, forcing Westhill to escape on Kaiser’s pick-off of a runner and Secreti recording a pair of strikeouts.
In all, Secreti would get 17 strikeouts, only to have McLean match her for six innings. Going into the bottom of the seventh, it was still 0-0, and extra innings was a real possibility.
Here, once again, the Warriors got the hit that mattered. Haynes reached base and stood on second with one out when Courtney Morgan stepped up. Morgan promptly ripped a McLean pitch deep into the gap, a double (just the fourth hit off McLean all afternoon) which allowed Haynes to race home with the winning run.
By winning, Westhill advanced to the B-1 final against Marcellus or South Jefferson, as those two sides met Monday in Adams (they got rained out on Saturday) to see who would move on. The overall Class B final is Saturday at 2:30 at the Gillette Road complex in North Syracuse.
Prior to its exit, J-E got to unload in last Tuesday’s opening round against no. 9 seed Holland Patent, using its bats to record a 16-3 rout of the Golden Knights.
Other than allowing a first-inning run, J-E never trailed. It scored twice in the bottom of the first to go in front, then used six-run rallies in the third and fourth innings to put HP away as the visitors committed six errors to help out.
Fordyce went three-for-five, hitting a home run and two doubles and finishing with five RBIs. Liz Caspari added two hits and four RBIs.
Lindsey Geery and Alicia Andrianos drove in two runs apiece. Erika Peterson had an RBI, and Samantha Lewis scored a team-best three runs. Gasparek pitched all seven innings to get the win, allowing seven hits along the way.
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