Fredonia (13-1, 10-1) saw its undefeated season come to an end Wednesday afternoon, as Falconer (9-2, 8-2) dropped the Lady Hillbillies, 6-4, in CCAA West I softball action.
"Any loss you learn from," Fredonia coach Joe Pucciarelli said. "There's the old saying, 'You can't get too high after a win, or too low after a loss.' You've got to learn and get better, because we might face this team again (in the playoffs)."
Abby Courtney led the Lady Golden Falcons in the circle and at the plate, as she tossed a complete game allowing four runs - three earned - on five hits while striking out two and walking one while going 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
OBSERVER?Photo by Roger Coda
Fredonia’s Mekenna Leid, left, tags out Falconer’s Kaitlyn?Hines?(11) at third base during Wednesday’s?CCAA?West I high school softball game.
"She's a gamer," Falconer coach Dan Morales said. "That top of the lineup - 1 through 5 or 1 through 6 - they know what to do. They're the sophomores that are now the juniors returning from that Sectional team and they know the game and they know what it takes (to win). They go ahead and put all the responsibility on their shoulders and they're all the team leaders. And (Abby Courtney) is one of them, if not the biggest. She just takes it upon herself to be the workhorse."
The Lady Golden Falcons jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on an RBI single by Courtney and a run-scoring double off the bat of Katie Hines.
"They knew - and I didn't even have to say anything - they knew they had to get out to a lead and keep answering (Fredonia's) runs," Morales said. "And we kept answering and building off that lead and it worked out well for us."
The Lady Hillbillies got on the scoreboard in their half of the first after Alicia Deering chased home Mekenna Leid with a sacrifice fly and Morgan Genovese drove in Bre Dahn with a single.
"I wouldn't even say that was a bad inning," Morales said. "(Courtney) gave up two runs and then she just started to go ahead and hit those spots. And that's what she has to do."
In the top of the third, Falconer went ahead for good, as a Hines single drove in Brianna McFall and Courtney to break the 2-all tie.
"What they did was, they just played loose," Morales said of his team. "And everything just fell into place. They hit the ball, they moved well in the field and on the bases. I'm very proud of them and very happy for all of them."
Hines picked up her fourth RBI of the game with a single which scored Courtney in the fifth, and Kylee Lindahl added a run-scoring single in the seventh for Falconer's final two runs.
"Any time you knock off an undefeated team sitting at the top of the league, it's a huge confidence builder," Morales said. "The first game (against Fredonia) was our second or third game of the season and it was a tight one. I think it was 13-11. So I knew walking in, and the girls knew, that we just had to go ahead and relax."
As relaxed as the Lady Golden Falcons seemed to play, the Lady Hillbillies were the exact opposite as they committed a pair of errors and were unable to come up with the big hit at the plate when they needed it most.
"We've been playing great ball defensively," Pucciarelli said. "And we have to play great defensively, because our pitchers don't get a lot of strikeouts. We have to field the ball, but (Wednesday) we threw the ball around and we had some mental lapses. But it was still a 6-4 game, so we were still right there even with those mistakes.
"It's something we've got to build on," Pucciarelli continued. "We haven't practiced, as a full team, outside, yet. So (today) is actually going to be our first day to work on some things."
Fredonia had a chance to break the game open in the bottom of the second, but was unable to push any runs across, despite having the bases loaded with just one out.
After Caitlyn Cybart grounded out to shortstop, Katie Webster was hit by a pitch. Then, Hannah Cybart reached on an error and Leid singled. Cassie Essek tried to lay down a squeeze bunt, but the ball was bunted to close to the pitcher, who tossed it home for the easy force out.
"We had our chances," Pucciarelli said. "We bunted with Cassie (Essek) there in the second and that's been successful for us all year. Unfortunately, she bunted it to the only person that we didn't want to see field the ball - the pitcher. She's really the best athlete on their team."
Then, with two outs, Deering flew out to center to end the threat.
"We didn't get the big hit that we'd been getting all year," Pucciarelli said.
The Lady Hillbillies added a run in the bottom of the third, however, as losing pitcher, Baylee Tarnowski, drove in Dahn on a ground out.
Tarnowski finished the day allowing six runs - three earned - on 12 hits while striking out three and hitting two batters.
"She was missing her spots," Pucciarelli said of Tarnowski. "I think she had three strikeouts, but we didn't do her any favors in the field. We've got to field the ball better."
Genovese, who finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs, drove in Deering in the bottom of the fifth for Fredonia's final run of the game.
With just one loss in league play, Fredonia will look to inch closer to a league title when it squares off against Jamestown (7-5, 7-2) on Monday.
Jamestown 11, Dunkirk 2
JAMESTOWN - Jamestown improved it's record in CCAA West 1 softball to 7-2, and 7-5 overall with an 11-2 victory over Dunkirk (5-6) on Wednesday at the Martin Road Complex.
Mary Cersosimo tossed a complete game and fanned six with one walk and five hits for the win, she also earned no runs on the day.
Hannah Pollino swung the big bat with a triple, a home run and three RBIs and Wilmari Guzman was 2 for 3 with a triple and an RBI.
Jessica Pace also accounted for a pair of runs with her lone single on the day.
Splitting time on the mound for Dunkirk was Riley Drummond, Sarah Hanlon, and Carissa Dunn.
Emily Hanlon smacked two singles in defeat.
"It's two games in a row we came out flat," Dunkirk coach John Sliwa lamented. "We were in the game and had opportunities. We left people on base way too much. We haven't been playing well. It was a good game for four inings, unfortunaly we play seven. I can't explain it right now. I wish I could. These games are just not what I want."
Dunkirk returns to action Friday against Frewsburg.