DUNKIRK – Section VI will have first-time representatives in Class C and Class D at the Far West Regional for softball as Portville and North Collins each won their school’s first overall sectional titles Tuesday at Promenschenkel Park in Dunkirk in a pair of tight contests.
In Class D, the North Collins Eagles (16-5) fell behind defending champion Franklinville (13-1), 1-0, as Ally Haskell (6 hits, 12 strikeouts) helped her complete game effort with her ground ball single to center field scored Arianna Wolfer in the sixth inning.
Down to its final three outs in the top of the seventh, North Collins loaded the bases as Rebecca Holmes and Angela Filkov both singled and then Morgan Mathis walked.
Alexa English then cleared the bases with a fly ball to left field, but the hit was ruled a ground-rule double because the ball slid under the fence. Instead of scoring four runs, the Eagles had two. Both teams differed on their opinions of the play as North Collins suspected the ball was pushed under the fence while Franklinville agreed with the call.
But those two runs were all that matter for North Collins coach Jan Warren and that’s the message he sent his team after the call.
“Just do what we do, that’s our motto,” Warren said. “We can’t worry about what anyone else is doing and that’s what we did in that last inning.”
Regardless of it being a grand slam or a double, English called her seventh-inning smack the biggest hit of her career.
“Yes definitely, for sure,” English said. “I wanted to do it for my team.”
Rebecca Cyrek gave up five hits while striking out eight in the win.
In Class C, the difference in the game was a much smaller base knock.
Chadelynn Johnson gave the Chautauqua Lake Thunderbirds (14-6) the 1-0 lead as she singled and scored when Olivia Anderson knocked her in with a single in the top of the fourth inning.
In the bottom half of the same inning, Portville (17-5) responded with two runs after two outs. Karly Welty walked and scooted to third on Kara Howard’s single. Howard moved to second on a throw to third on the same play.
Jenna Lockwood then hit a blooper behind first base and because of some smart base running by Howard, two runs scored on the play giving Portville a 2-1 lead which held over the final three innings. Howard did not hesitate when rounding third base and heading toward home, allowing her to score.
“(Lockwood) might not have the best batting average, but she has very timely hits,” Portville coach Bill Torrey said.
“(Howard) takes every advantage she can on the base paths. It was very heads up play,” Torrey added.
While a successful season, Chautauqua Lake coach Susan Teets said losing on a blooper makes the loss a tough one to swallow, adding that her team had chances to come back, as the Thunderbirds left runners stranded in each of the final four innings.
“We had our chances; you have to give Portville credit. They came to play,” Teets said.
Sydney Colligan took the win for Portville, throwing a complete game four-hitter while striking out six batters.