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Williamsville East belts its way to historic softball triumph

BROCKPORT -- That wasn't an echo.

The sound of Williamsville East making solid contact with pitches during Friday afternoon's Far West Regional Class A softball was a continuous noise.

So much so, the Flames' march toward a historic triumph became a foregone conclusion long before the final out. The only question that remained: what would be the final score?

It was that kind of day for Williamsville East, which advanced to the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association final four for the first time in program history by crushing Section V champion Mercy, 18-3, at SUNY Brockport's Clark V. Whited Complex.

More than 500 fans watched Flames hitters smash the ball over and over again as they collected a total of 21 hits and belted two home runs. They also had a few warning track outs, too, to earn the trip to Moreau Park in Glens Falls where they will face either III-Jamesville-DeWitt or II-Averill Park at 9 a.m. June 10.

"We worked so hard for this I can't believe we're going," said winning pitcher Jessica Weaver, who finished with three hits and drove in two runs.

Williamsville East (18-3) scored five times on six hits in the second inning to break a scoreless knot. Veronica Zimmerman's infield hit plated Samantha Crane, who reached via single. Weaver helped her own cause with an RBI single and then a throwing error enabled Grace Pogorzala to score. Christy Mack's run-scoring single capped the burst.

There would be more to come, even though Mercy (14-10) did get on the board in the bottom of the second on Danielle Salina's homer.

The Flames scored four in the third with Crane crushing a no-doubt-about-it two-run homer to left. Crane had three hits, four RBIs and three runs scored out of the No. 7 spot in the batting order. Bri Bucello finished 4 for 6 with five RBIs, for the Flames.

Williamsville East scored in all but one inning and stuck for at least four runs in three of them.

"I'm just really proud of this team," said coach Chris Durr, who also has guided Williamsville East's girls soccer team to two state final four appearances. "This is the team we are. We hit the ball and hopefully we get good pitching. We made a lot of good defensive plays."

All of that turned Williamsville East's sectional championship season into something even more special.

"We just made history," said Rachel Steffan, who had a home run among her two hits. "This was our goal since day one."

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