The Clarence and Starpoint softball teams were crowned champions Sunday of the inaugural “Just Show Up” Tournament at the Northtown Center at Amherst.
The event was held in memory of the late Williamsville South softball coach Gerry Gentner, who lost his battle with stomach cancer last year. “Just Show up” was a favorite phrase of his.
Clarence beat neighboring Lancaster, 6-4, in eight innings to win the Fort Myers bracket while Starpoint edged Frontier, 3-2, to win the Cancun bracket. The event drew a field of 16 teams and was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was delayed a day because of weather. The event was organized by Gentner’s daughter Julie Genter Murphy, who succeeded him as the Billies’ coach, along with Gentner’s brother, Bob.
Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Gentner’s name. Among the items raffled off were a flat-screen TV and 65 baskets. There was a 50/50 drawing and T-shirts for sale.
“I joke that it felt like I was planning a wedding,” Gentner Murphy said. “I was excited for the day to finally come. I didn’t really stress about anything, the parents in my program were beyond helpful. I just got off the phone with my mom and she said she saw people she hadn’t seen in 20 years.”
Clarence trailed 3-2 going into the seventh when Kelsey Henderson singled and eventually scored to tie it and force extras. Clarence scored three runs in the eighth while Lancaster answered with one.
Using the international tiebreaker, Kaycee Fracasso started on second. Moriah Harris singled to right to score Fracasso. Harris was sacrificed to second and Katie Maloney then doubled her in. Henderson followed with a hit to score Maloney.
Katrina Buczkowski of Clarence was named MVP of the Fort Myers bracket after pitching all 22 innings. She had seven strikeouts and just one walk against Lancaster and had 10 strikeouts each in earlier wins against West Seneca West and Sacred Heart.
Starpoint’s Ashley Owens was named MVP of the Cancun bracket after striking out nine Falcons in the final. The Spartans scored the winning run in the fifth inning when Mikenna Pelloth crossed the plate on a wild pitch. Frontier’s Courtney Courtade and Sara Cuillo were named all-tournament.