DUNKIRK — Forty-eight hours later, Falconer finished what it started, shutting out Eden, 1-0, to win the Section VI Class B championship.
In a rain-suspended game that began Saturday in West Seneca and concluded Monday at Dunkirk High School, the B-2 sectional champion Falcons (11-11) ended Eden’s streak of playoff upsets and advanced to the Far West Regionals for the second time in three years.
“It feels awesome,” senior catcher Shannon Gunnell said. “A feeling like no other.”
Falconer will play the Section V champion, either Batavia or Wayland-Cohocton, at 6 p.m. today in Brockport.
Second baseman Shannon McFall and Gunnell teamed up on a game-ending double play as Eden pinch runner Emily Hale tried to score from second on a bunt by Carly Nasca.
“It was the Shannon and Shannon show,” Falconer coach Paul Lombardo said. McFall “didn’t make a a wild throw. She didn’t panic,” Lombardo said, and Gunnell, “blocked that plate off, and there was no way that girl was going to get home.”
Eden (15-5) did not advance a runner to third base until the final play of the game.
“In the middle of the season we didn’t play very good defense, but we stressed not to panic,” Lombardo said. “They can get runners on, it’s OK. We can make an error, that’s OK. As long as we think about the next play. And that’s what they did today. Every next play, we made.”
Sophomore Abby Courtney pitched a one-hitter with seven strikeouts and sophomore Kaylei Russell drove home Katie Hines with a triple in the second inning for the game’s lone run.
“This game was amazing for us. We came together as a team and won the whole thing,” Courtney said. “A lot of us haven’t been here before in a high school game. We want to go far for the seniors because we are such a close team.”
The game was suspended in the third inning Saturday when lightning flashed. Wet grounds at Sunshine Park delayed the resumption another day.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Courtney said. “I was nervous, but after that first inning that we had with the one batter and two outs, I was totally confident in my whole team and I knew that we could do it.”
Eden coach Marisa Fallacaro changed pitchers between outings, and freshman Jill Murray struck out eight of the 14 batters she faced Monday. Nasca had four strikeouts on Saturday.
With just one senior starter, Eden won the B-1 championship as the sixth seed, beating third-seed Olean, second-seed Newfane and first-seed Depew, before coming up one run short of advancing to the state playoffs.
“This was just a tremendous season,” Fallacaro said. “I’m sorry to see it end because I think this team had a shot to go places.”