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Dansville Airport Juxaposition by Amanda Sue Cornelius

Photos, stories: Wellsville downs Way-Co in sectionals; Friendship-Scio wins; GV/B downs Arkport-Canaseraga

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Tuesday Sectionals: No. 2 Lady Lions overcome early run by No. 7 Way-Co, score 18 straight to cement spot in Class B Semis; Ross Ks 15 in Fri/Scio’s blank of Fillmore, GV/Belfast evades Ark-Can in Ds  

Stories and photo by CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com

WELLSVILLE — The previous occasion that Wayland-Cohocton and Wellsville met in the second season, you’d have to rewind the video tape a little ways back to the 2021 season at a packed Tullar Field, during a time when the world was dominated by a global pandemic.

The scene at the historic playing grounds that day was something to behold. The spectators, the electricity, the jubilation, all at a time and place when the world needed it the most. The 12-2 title-clinching victory — the first of its kind for the Lady Lions since 2003, over their Class B rivals, will likely go down in Wellsville softball lore as one of the best feel-good stories ever told.

Now, two steps backwards in the Class B Quarterfinal round three years later, it was time for them to meet again.

In a game of this caliber, having the upper hand early is king. That played right into the custody of the No. 7 Lady Eagles immediately, not wasting any time knocking on the door against the No. 2 Lady Lions, just like in their Finals clash, as they capitalized on their opening at-bats with the game’s first run.

But mirroring the effort she has put in all season long for her squad, Makenzie Cowburn remained unfazed.

The early 1-0 lead for Wayland-Cohocton served as a minor bump in the road for the Lady Lions, as they regained control of the steering wheel and went on a relentless run beginning with their response in the bottom half of the opening frame. When it was all set in stone, the No. 2 seeds went on to score at least two runs in each of the five frames of action to run away from the Lady Eagles and towards the Class B Semifinals with a dominant 18-1 victory.

“We definitely had to prepare for our defense to play a short game against them, with the bunting and the slapping of their hits. With Makenzie pitching, she didn’t really give them opportunities to be able to get good contact,” said Lady Lions co-coach Shelley Chaffee. “They fouled a lot of pitches off, but nothing went into play. All the balls they did hit, we were able to field and throw out. The defense worked hard for us to keep them off the bases. Every single game, I love when our team is up to hit. All the way through the lineup, we hit it well and into the gaps. We make the other team think about what we do on the bases, and that certainly helped us deliver a nice home victory.”

A lengthy and hard-fought battle in the box from Wayland-Cohocton’s Shaila Pragle commenced the opening sequences at Tullar Field, as the Lady Eagles lead-off hitter survived a 10-pitch at-bat to deliver a single to reach on base.

She ultimately provided a steal of second before working her way around the rest of the bags in the field after a throw past the base sailed into the outfield. After the Lady Lions couldn’t get the ball back into play, she scratched across the plate with ease to break the ice.

But it was the only run that the No. 7 seeds would collect.

From the bottom half of the opening frame onwards, it was Wellsville’s (18-1) game to control, as they fired a three-run response right back at Wayland-Cohocton off back-to-back pulverizations to the left field fence from Sawyer Burke and Brazen Beckwith, each arriving to second base on a double, with Beckwith recording the game-tying RBI along the way.

With their backs against the wall, another RBI off the bat of Makenzie Cowburn, along with a run scoring from third on a passed ball, bolstered the Lady Lions lead to a pair to finish off the frame.

Wellsville continued to ride the momentum wave while Cowburn kept Wayland-Cohocton off the board, as they scored three more runs in the second — two of them off a single from Cowburn after loading the bases not once, but twice, against the Lady Eagles. Three’s were indeed a crowd across the first trio of stanzas, as they conducted another three-run amalgamation to keep widening their advantage.

In the fourth inning, the bats heated up even more for the Lady Lions with the aid of Natalie Adams and her solo blast, while Makenna Dunbar had one more to chip into the fray — a three-run blast to end the game in walk-off fashion, eclipsing the 15-run mercy limit to send the Lady Eagles home, ending their season.

When the Quarterfinal story was all said and done, five different Lady Lions all recorded at least a pair of hits. Leading the efforts at the front of the pack were Burke, Adams and Beckwith, each recording three hits, with Beckwith driving in five total runs. Dunbar would finish with two hits, including her three-run homer, totaling five more RBI. Cowburn also collected two hits and drove in three runs.

In the circle, Cowburn held Wayland-Cohocton to just three hits across 11 strikeouts.

Coming up on Thursday, Tullar Field will await the arrival of the Lady Lions once again, this time for the very last time this year, for Class B Semifinal action, as they now prepare to host No. 3 Midlakes for a chance to return back to this weekend’s Finals at Finger Lakes Community College.

First pitch time of the contest has yet to be announced.

Way-Co 100 00 – 1 3 3

Wellsville 333 27 – 18 15 1

W-C – Molly Robbins (LP) (CG, 2K, 6BB) and Emily Moran.

WLSV – Makenzie Cowburn (WP) (CG, 11K) and Brazen Beckwith.

Class D Quarterfinals

No. 3 Friendship/Scio 10, No. 11 Fillmore 0

SCIO — Defending Class D State Finalist Friendship/Scio was in for another fight with No. 11 Fillmore on Quarterfinal Tuesday in Scio.

Across the first three innings of play, the offensive production on both sides was limited, with the host No. 3 seeds collecting two big runs to claim the first lead over the Lady Eagles in the last of the triumvirate of frames.

And then, a big explosion. The cause? — Nevaeh Ross.

While keeping the Lady Eagles frozen at the plate during her time on the mound, the momentum she would create began to shift gears when she stepped into the box herself. With two runners on in the bottom of the fourth, Ross absolutely unloaded on a pitch that was sent straight to right field, exiting play to help break the floodgates open completely to flip what was a 2-0 lead of Fillmore and turn it on its head with an eventual 10-0 shutout to move onto the Class D Semifinals.

Through the first two innings of play, the offenses were frozen. Just one hit combined between each squad was garnered during that timespan — a two-out double by Nevaeh Ross to pose the game’s first threat in scoring position. But on the next at-bat, the Fillmore defense was able to chart their course off the field behind a big putout right back to Mylee Miller in the circle to close the frame.

Following a third straight 1-2-3 conducted by Ross and the Friendship/Scio (17-3) defense in the top of the third, the momentum found a way its translation at the plate with two big runs to aid in the host’s start, with Morghyn Ross coming through first with an RBI double before her older sister followed with an RBI single to bring her in, just two at-bats later.

Down by two, the Lady Eagles were destined to jump back into the game behind a no-hit spoiling knock from Oakley Frazier in the top of the fourth inning. But despite it, Ross was not stymied, as she went on to retire the next two Fillmore hitters at the plate to leave Frazier standing on base.

Friendship/Scio would go on to break the door down in the bottom half with a massive six-run jamboree — three of those runs off a gigantic three-run blast off the bat of Nevaeh Ross, a shot hammered to deep right field that allowed her team to garner all the room they needed to remain out front, adding two more runs in the sixth to cross the 10-run plateau to finish off the game.

In all, Friendship/Scio posted 10 runs off six hits, with Ross’ 3-for-5 outing leading the charge, totaling five RBI. Grace Drumm and Jadyn Wonderling each had a hit to chip in.

On the mound, Ross furthered her own cause with a one-hit shutout, fanning 15 Lady Eagles batters along the way.

Fillmore was led by Mylee Miller in the circle, as she shelled out four strikeouts and three walks during her complete game. The Lady Eagles have reached the conclusion of their 2024 campaign, as they wrap up with a record of 10-10 overall. The team will graduate five seniors at the end of the school year next month, in Frazier, Preslee Miller, Kylee Ellsworth, Delaney Hillman and Jenna Austin.

The journey back to New York City continues on for Friendship/Scio, as they now move into Class D Semifinal round play by hitting the road on Thursday for a monster clash with No. 2 Notre Dame-Batavia, with first pitch time yet to be determined.

Fillmore 000 000 0 – 0 1 4

Friendship/Scio 002 602 X – 10 6 1

FIL – Mylee Miller (LP) (CG, 4K, 3BB) and Oakley Frazier.

F/S – Nevaeh Ross (WP) (CG, 15K) and Morghyn Ross.

No. 4 Genesee Valley/Belfast 3, No. 12 Arkport-Canaseraga 1

BELFAST — It was a one-run difference when Arkport-Canaseraga and Genesee Valley/Belfast last collided in regular season play. With a monumental upset over No. 5 Lyndonville in the previous round, the stars aligned in the Class D bracket for the two foes to meet once again with the Semifinal round waiting on the other side.

It came as no surprise that the two squads duked it out in another close battle right down to the wire once again on Tuesday at the Rich Sullivan Complex in Belfast.

And once again, Genesee Valley/Belfast found their way back out on top following a top-notch and high-quality challenge from the Lady Wolves, as they broke a crucial deadlock in the middle frames with two enormous runs down the stretch. That, all while Hannah Southwick-Powers continued to deal from within her command center to help clinch a Class D Semifinal berth for the No. 4 seeds with a narrow 3-1 home victory over No. 12 Arkport-Canaseraga.

“We’ve been playing great defense, and we’ve had it going on for the last five to seven games now. That was a big difference tonight,” said GV/Belfast coach Mark Sullivan. “When you see a team three times, you begin to figure that they have your number down on your pitcher. Arkport-Canaseraga came out and got two hits right off Hannah in the first inning. But she managed to settle down after that and pitched a great game. They’re playing with a ton of confidence behind her, but we need to keep the bats going. If we can figure that out, watch out.”

Hits were difficult to come by between each team, with Genesee Valley/Belfast (13-5-1) garnering a 6-5 advantage. But on the scoreboard, Arkport-Canaseraga was the first to strike after two straight scoreless innings between the squads, jumping ahead by one before the hosts fired right back with a game-tying run of their own in the bottom half to level the playing ground again.

But the run for Genesee Valley/Belfast would only build a bit more steam going forward.

While Southwick-Powers remained in control of the circle, the offense pieced together two more gigantic runs — one of them stemming in the bottom of the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly into the outfield from Morgan Yackeren, tacking on the insurance they needed to survive and withstand another tough battle from the Lady Wolves.

Southwick-Powers would finish up a five-hit gem with 14 strikeouts and one walk.

As for the bats, Sondra Guilford led the way with two of the six hits for the No. 4 seeds. Southwick-Powers pitched in with a triple. For Arkport-Canaseraga, Summer Marcus and Autumn Frechette each had two hits.

Genesee Valley/Belfast will now move into the Class D Semifinal round, which will begin Thursday with a road trip to visit top-seeded Keshequa at a first pitch time yet to be determined. The winner will move into this weekend’s Finals in Fillmore, with either No. 3 Friendship/Scio or No. 2 Notre Dame-Batavia waiting on the other side.

Arkport-Canaseraga 001 000 0 – 1 5

Genesee Valley/Belfast 001 110 X – 3 6

BASEBALL

Class C2 Quarterfinals

No. 1 Bolivar-Richburg 8, No. 9 Cuba-Rushford 1

BOLIVAR — To beat the same exact team three times in a single season, it can be a difficult task to undertake. But if that opponent is your school’s long-standing rival, it can make the feeling that much sweeter. Especially when it’s during playoff season.

For top-seeded Bolivar-Richburg, that particular scenario came into play Tuesday night against the nine-seeded Rebels of Cuba-Rushford with a trip to the Class C2 Semifinals on the line. Both teams escaped one another across the opening frame, but that would soon change in favor of some fierce offense.

With the visitors finding the way across the dish first, it was then the Wolverines’ turn to respond.

That would come courtesy of a elongated strand of runs, scoring all eight of theirs in consecutive fashion — four of which came in the bottom half of the second to quadruple the trouble against Cuba-Rushford with a go-ahead lead they would never lose from that point forward, as they cemented their place in Thursday night’s Semifinal round with their third win over the Rebels, an 8-1 triumph.

“I told the guys that it’s tough to beat a team three times, and Cuba-Rushford, they were going to come in ready to go to give us everything they had to get an upset,” said Wolverines coach Dustin Allen. “We accepted the challenge and we got the job done. We responded with four in the second after they broke the scoring open first. The middle and the bottom of the order came through for us, and then the top of it followed right behind them. Trey (Buchholz) pitched a solid game for us, he was throwing strikes right from the start, and Landon (Barkley) gave us some solid relief.”

Following a game-opening goose egg on each side of the scoreboard, the offense would soon find its rhythm on both sides of the field, beginning with the Rebels and their RBI single from Braxton Clark — one of just four hits they mustered against the Wolverines pitching staff of Trey Buchholz and Landon Barkley.

It was the only hit that would allow the Rebels to come across the plate, as their 1-0 lead going into the bottom half of the frame quickly evaporated in favor of a Bolivar-Richburg (20-2) lead that was never lost again, as they quadrupled their response by using a mixture of key base-running and timely hitting to drag their scores across to take a 4-1 lead on Cuba-Rushford.

The pitchers would go back to work keeping one another at bay again in the next pair of stanzas, hanging up two more scoreless frames before the Wolverines assumed control at the plate once again with a three-run fifth frame, along with one final run in the sixth to push their lead out of reach to end the Rebels season while extending theirs into the next round.

Bolivar-Richburg scored eight runs off 10 hits at the plate against the Rebels, with Reiss Gaines and Tavyn MacDonell each posting two hits, with MacDonell driving a double and a run in to score. Landon Barkley chipped in with two more hits, driving in a run and scoring two runs of his own, while Charlie Militello had two runs to score.

On the mound, the win was claimed by Buchholz during his start that extended into the sixth, fanning five. As for the Rebels, Finn Ricketts, Eli Sleggs and Adam Roe each had a hit to go with Clark’s RBI single in the second inning to round off their offense. Standing on the rubber, Ricketts struck out two and walked one in his start into the fifth inning.

Cuba-Rushford’s season has come to a close, as they wrap up the 2024 campaign with a record of 10-9 overall. The Rebels will graduate three seniors when the time for Graduation comes next month, saying goodbye to Braeden Wight, Tanner Lewis and Garrett Cooper.

Bolivar-Richburg will now move one step closer towards this weekend’s Finals in Hornell, claiming one of the vacancies in Thursday’s Class C2 Semifinal, where they now host No. 4 Kendall in a first pitch time that is yet to be determined.

Cuba-Rushford 010 000 0 – 1 4 1

Bolivar-Richburg 040 031 X – 8 10 0

C-R – Finn Ricketts (LP) (2K, BB), Braxton Clark (5) (K, BB) and Adam Shaffer.

B-R – Trey Buchholz (WP) (5K), Landon Barkley (6) and Aydin Sisson.

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