There is only one more obstacle remaining in Starpoint’s path of reaching the state softball playoffs, but it’s a huge one in fellow ECIC II co-champion Williamsville South.
Both schools cruised to Section VI Class A semifinal wins Friday to earn a date with each other in the championship game next Wednesday at Niagara-Wheatfield High School.
Starpoint ended Hamburg’s state championship reign and gained a little measure of revenge in the process as last year’s Class A-2 champion beat the team it lost to in last year’s state qualifier, 10-2. Meanwhile, Williamsville South will try to win its first Section VI softball title in eight years as the Billies advanced with an 8-2 win over West Seneca East.
The Spartans and Billies split their two regular-season meetings.
Starpoint (17-3), which has all but three players back from last year’s championship squad, methodically pulled away from the Bulldogs, leading by 2-1 after two and 3-2 after three innings. The Spartans used both their college-bound pitchers in this one, Allison Block (Canisius) and Ashley Owens (Division II Felician College), who also contributed to the 15-hit attack on offense. Block, who started and went four innings for the win, belted a solo homer in the first. Owens, who pitched the final three innings for the save, had three hits, including a double and triple and one RBI. Aren Schwab had three hits, including two triples, two RBIs and scored three runs. Both her triples were one-hoppers off the fence.
“Everyone was hitting the ball today. It was spread out,” Starpoint coach Joe Hill said.
For South (18-2), Bri Clark and Megan Mingle both went 2 for 3 and combined to drive in five runs. Mingle belted a homer and had three RBIs, while Clark also finished with a triple to back the complete-game-pitching effort by Samantha Moon.
Sara Crandall tossed a complete-game, one-hit shutout, and Caylee Starks took care of the offense as Cattaraugus/Little Valley advanced to the Section VI Class C final with a 2-0 win over Allegany-Limestone during a semifinal contest on Friday.
Crandall struck out 15 in the win and received the only run she’d need in the third inning. Starks led off the frame with a triple and later scored on a dropped third strike, breaking for home on the throw down to first. Starks also drove in Catt/LV’s second run, a two-out hit in the fourth that plated Katie Reynolds from second.
Catt/LV will face Franklinville in the final at Jefferson Middle School in Jamestown at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Eighth-grader Ally Haskell tossed a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts to lead Franklinville past Barker, 5-1. Franklinville split the two regular-season matchups with CCAA foe Catt/LV, losing by 7-4 and winning 3-0.
Clarence rolls into final
The players change but the results haven’t for Clarence, which will play for its third straight Section VI Class AA championship next week after earning a 3-2 semifinal win over Orchard Park.
The Red Devils posted their 14th straight win with help from the Quakers. Clarence scored all its runs in the third inning without mustering a run-scoring hit – using six walks and a fielder’s choice to account for the runs.
That was enough for Katrina Buczkowski, who struck out 11 and got out of a seventh-inning jam with runners at first and second by a game-ending pop out to second base.
“The kids are talented. They play in the sport year-round. They find ways to win whether it’s with hits or short game,” Clarence coach Todd Banaszak said. “Katrina does a real good job on the mound. She keeps us in every game.”
Katie Weimer had an RBI hit for OP in the sixth and Molly Hennessy led off the seventh with a solo homer for the Quakers.
Clarence faces Williamsville North in the AA final as the Spartans edged Niagara Falls, 1-0.
North scored the game’s only run unearned in the third inning as Jamie Kenyon scored from third on a throwing error. She ran from second to third on a fielder’s choice grounder to third after the throw had been made to first. The return throw though sailed over the third baseman’s head enabling her to score.
Emily Nicosia earned the win for North.
Kane’s title quest over
Hamburg’s Tim Kane lost in the third round of the state tennis tournament to Artemie Amari of the Beacon School of New York City, 6-4, 6-4, at the National Tennis Center.
The double teams from Orchard Park, Panama and Williamsville South lost second-round matches at the event in Flushing Meadow.