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Williamsville East softball moves to state final with shutout

SOUTH GLENS FALLS – Clutch two-out hitting from eighth-grader Ella Wesolowski and senior Rachel Steffan have put the nationally ranked and unbeaten Williamsville East softball team in position to secure the perfect ending to what has been a flawless season.

The Flames will play for the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association Class A championship against Section I champion Ballston Spa. They earned a spot in the final by crushing Section I champion Walter Panas, 6-0, in a semifinal at Harry J. Betar Jr. Recreation Park on Saturday morning.

The final has been pushed back to a 2:45 start after the other semifinal went 20 innings, with Ballston Spa beating Sayville 2-1.

Wesolowski blasted a pair of home runs, Steffan also went yard during a three-hit game, and sophomore Summer Clark tossed a complete-game 1-hitter with 12 strikeouts.

“I’m so excited,” said Steffan, a returnee from East’s state finalist team in 2017. “This is where we want to be, to be in this game and to get some revenge.”

The Flames will play for the state title at 1:30 p.m. against either unbeaten XI-Sayville or II-Ballston Spa. That semifinal was in extra innings long after the conclusion of East’s semi.

With two outs in the top of the first, Williamsville East (26-0) took the lead for keeps. Steffan crushed a first-pitch fastball over the fence in right center. Wesolowski followed by drilling a rope of a shot that kept rising over the wall in center.

“I was in the mindset she was throwing good pitches so we had to jump on her,” Steffan said. “She was hitting the corners so when she threw one down the middle I had to jump on it.”

It stayed 2-0 until the seventh, when the Flames scored four times with two outs. The big blast came courtesy of Wesolowski, who clubbed a three-run bomb over the left field fence to make it 5-0.

Williamsville East is trying to become the first female sports team in school history to win a state title. The only squad in school history to ever win a state title was boys hockey in 2004.

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