Alden and Depew are very familiar with each other on the softball field. They play in the same division in ECIC III and have met for the Section VI Class B-1 championship each of the last two years. They will do it a third time on Thursday. Depew won last year, Alden the year before with each advancing to the state final four.
The Bulldogs defeated City Honors, 8-1, behind the pitching of Brooke Strausbaugh to get a third meeting this season with Depew, which defeated Alden twice in the regular season.
Strausbaugh, a senior who ranks seventh in her class academically and will attend Kent State, escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fourth inning of a 1-1 game. An out at home on an attempted squeeze play and two strikes got Strausbaugh out of the inning without a run crossing.
"Brooke waited for her opportunity," said Alden coach Jeff Kryszczuk. "She was our backup pitcher to Laura Kratzke for two years, then became the starter this year and has done very well. She's 14-4 as a starter. Prior to this year she was 12-0."
No. 1 seed Depew, meanwhile, rolled to a 10-0 victory over Tonawanda to set another rematch with Alden.
Emily Nicosia pitched a two-hitter and tripled in Williamsville North's three-run first inning of the Spartans' 5-3 sectional Class AA softball victory over Kenmore West at Sheridan Park on Tuesday.
"She was very composed on the mound and that helps us stay relaxed," said North's first-year coach Michelle Switzer. "She always steps up when she's needed."
North needed single runs in the sixth and seventh to win it.
The Spartans will move on to a Thursday semifinal date at ECIC I rival and No. 1 Class AA seed Lancaster. North lost twice to the Legends, 6-4, and 9-5, in the regular league season.
Lancaster (21-0) stayed undefeated with a 10-1 victory over Niagara Falls. Christina Stasiuk went 2 for 3 with two doubles and two RBIs and Kara Paradowski drove in two runs and had three hits.
There was enough drama for two games in Medina's 1-0 victory over at Fredonia in a Class B-2 semifinal.
Winning pitcher Emily Kams of the Mustangs had a no-hit game going until Fredonia Sydney Bigelow broke it up with a two out single in the bottom of the seventh.
The only run was a homer by Destiny Satkowski for Medina, which finished in a three-way tie with Roy-Hart and Akron for the Niagara-Orleans League championship.
Medina will move on to the B-2 finals to face Eden on Thursday night at Williamsville North. It's Medina's first trip to a sectional final in softball since the early 1980s. Eden, ranked No. 1 in this week's Western New York Small Schools Poll, advanced with a surprising easy win over Roy-Hart, 10-2.
Katie Quagliana allowed only two hits over five innings and Leah Czerwinski and Abby Ferenczy had two hits each for Williamsville South in a 4-0 Class A-1 victory at West Seneca East.
Lindsay Hoak allowed three hits and struck out nine, but needed to come up with some clutch pitching to lead No. 4 seed Amherst over No. 1 Lew-Port, 1-0, on the road in a Class A-2 semifinal. The Tigers will face Olean on Thursday at Williamsville North for the title. Hoak walked five and there were two errors behind her but she never broke. Lew-Port left nine runners on base.
Amherst scored in the second inning when Hannan Bardeen singled, moved up on a fielder's choice and passed ball and came home on another passed ball.
Riley Krum of the Lancers was a hard-luck loser. She allowed just three hits and struck out six.
Mercy-St. Mary’s to meet
Mount Mercy and St. Mary's of Lancaster each finished 7-1 in first place in Monsignor Martin Association softball. They will meet at 4 p.m. today at Sunshine Park in West Seneca for the league playoff championship.
Mount Mercy triumphed over Sacred Heart, 6-2, behind the pitching of Laura Gregory Tuesday at Sunshine. Tina Zambron had two hits, one a triple, and two RBIs in the Mercy victory while Beth Hughes and Fiona Danahy had two hits each with Hughes driving in three runs. One of Danahy's hits was a triple. St. Mary's won its semifinal over Mount St. Mary, 4-2, on Monday.
Canisius closed out a first-place finish in Monsignor Martin Association baseball by sweeping two games from Cardinal O'Hara, 12-0 and 10-0. The Crusaders finished their regular season league schedule with a 10-2 record.