Chautauqua Lake advances with 2-0 win over Lady Cougars

OBSERVER Photo by Lisa Monacelli Cassadaga Valley third baseman Brittyn LeBaron tags Chautauqua Lake baserunner Cameryn Hawkins after Hawkins was caught in a run down.

A pitchers’ duel commenced at Promenschenkel Stadium in Dunkirk between Chautauqua Lake’s Olivia Anderson and Cassadaga Valley’s Alyssa Hahn to decide who would be Section VI Class C1 softball champion. The game came down to the final moments, but the Lady Thunderbirds prevailed over the Lady Cougars, 2-0, to win the Sectional title.

Olivia Anderson was the winner in the circle for the Lady Thunderbirds.

After hitting the first two batters she had faced, Anderson dazzled the rest of the way. She finished the entire game and allowed just two hits and two walks while racking up 14 strikeouts in the championship effort.

“Olivia (Anderson) just came on strong at the end,” Lady Thunderbirds coach Sue Teets said. “I think in reality, when you look at a team, your pitcher is on the mound, but the hitting that came forth from our team and the confidence that she gained from that spurred her on.”

Anderson was backed up by Lakin Gustafson, who had a 2-for-3 effort with a double at the plate. Katelyn Fardink had two singles, and both Cameryn Hawkins and Anderson had crucial RBI singles in the win by Chautauqua Lake.

Alyssa Hahn had a complete game for the Lady Cougars, and pitched admirably from the circle. In her effort, she gave up only two runs on seven hits, two walks and totaled nine strikeouts for the day.

“Alyssa’s done a great job pitching,” Cassadaga Valley coach Ken Balling began. “She got Pitcher of the Year for Division 2. She’s been the varsity pitcher for five years. As an eighth grader, we lost, 3-2, to Frewsburg in extra innings; that was her first Sectional title she was pitching for. But it’s nice to be back and to be competitive.”

The game was tied, 0-0, until the top of the sixth inning.

Chautauqua Lake’s Katelyn Fardink hit her second single of the day to lead off the inning for the Lady Thunderbirds. At the next at-bat, Fardink moved to second on a Chadelynn Johnson groundout and then benefited from a wild pitch moving her to third.

Next up was Anderson, and in a clutch moment, she slammed an RBI single down the third base line to score Fardink and give the Lady Thunderbird’s the lead at 1-0.

The Lady Cougars would mount an attack of their own in the sixth.

Brittyn LeBaron reached first on a walk, and then moved to second on a wild pitch by Anderson. With one out, and a runner in scoring position, Anderson left the next two batters fanning, getting Chautauqua Lake out of the inning.

In the top of the seventh, Gustafson led off with a single and moved to third via a groundout and a wild pitch. Hawkins brought Gustafson home with an RBI single to build the lead up to 2-0.

The Lady Cougars found themselves down, but they were certainly not out.

Mikayla Rearick and Jenna Caskey belted consecutive singles against Anderson to open up the bottom of the seventh. After a couple of miscues by Chautauqua Lake, Anderson found with the bases loaded with two outs facing the top of the order.

Then it was Hahn versus Anderson, and with the game on the line, someone had to deliver.

Anderson beat Hahn at the plate, striking her out in winning-time to take the Sectional title for Chautauqua Lake.

“I know that last batter, it was debatable with Alyssa Hahn up what we should do,” Teets explained. “But we just said, ‘let her pitch,’ and that last pitch she threw was — just told her to throw it hard.”

“I was a good effort,” Balling said. “And I told the girls, ‘Chautauqua Lake beat us.’ The girls did not beat themselves and that was important. … We had a good season. All year long the girls have fought hard. … The girls had a heck of an effort today. … She (Anderson) was on top of her game.”

“It’s a fantastic feeling,” coach Teets said on winning the Section VI Class C1 title. “The feeling is just undescribable for these girls. I know they deserved it; I know they’ve worked hard. All season long we said, ‘Let’s do the little things right, and you’ll be champions,’ and they did a great job today.”

Chautauqua Lake now moves on to the Section VI Class C title game against Portville. Regardless of the opponent, Chautauqua Lake is ready for the challenge.

“We’ve discussed if we go past this game,” Teets began. “But you know what? I tell my kids, ‘You play every single team as they are the state champs.’ Doesn’t matter who they are. You go do what you need to do and focus. Our whole thing all year was: focus, focus, focus.”

The Section VI Class C title game will be held on Tuesday, May 30 at Promenschenkel Stadium in Dunkirk.