Chautauqua Lake takes care of business, beats Dunkirk, 7-5
Lady T’birds fly high over Dunkirk
MAYVILLE — For nearly their entire careers since seventh grade, Chautauqua Lake seniors Olivia Anderson and Chadelynn Johnson have made up the Thunderbirds’ battery.
Thursday, with Johnson sidelined due to injury, Anderson had to work with eighth-grade jayvee callup Jenna Waters.
With the backing of a 15-hit offensive attack, Chautauqua Lake made it work en route to a 7-5 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 West win over Dunkirk.
“From top to bottom I’m very pleased,” Chautauqua Lake coach Sue Teets said. “We’ve always talked about being aggressive. When you have a team like Dunkirk you have to get those bats going early.”
Senior third baseman Cianna Braymiller had three hits, including two doubles, and an RBI; Anderson had three singles and an RBI; and sophomore Megan Fischer, the No. 7 hitter in the Thunderbirds’ lineup, had three hits and scored two runs to lead the charge.
“She came alive today,” Teets said of Fischer. “After the first (at-bat) I told her ‘You have to follow through and get that bat through the zone.'”
In the circle, Anderson pitched around a few passed balls, wild pitches and errors to finish with a four-hitter, striking out eight while walking four.
“(Anderson and Johnson) have been together for six years. To call on somebody to do that … she was nervous,” Teets said of Waters. “You could tell the nerves were taking effect there. She needs to work on a few things, but she’s young. … She’s pretty good for a little eighth-grader.”
Chautauqua Lake led for most of the game, taking a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first before a three-run third inning gave the Thunderbirds the lead for good.
Braymiller doubled to left-center field with one out before scoring on Mackenzie Zemcik’s two-out bloop single over first base. Fischer followed with a hard-hit single up the middle before Sophia Woodis’ two-run double to center field.
“Being the No. 4 hitter and being who she is, they pitch around her a lot. They don’t give her much, but she wants to hit,” Teets said of Braymiller. ” … At times she gets a little antsy because she wants to hit the ball. … Tonight, she really did come alive.”
Armed with a 5-2 lead, the hosts would tack on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Fischer and Woodis singled with one out before a fielder’s choice left runners at first and third with two outs. Anderson helped herself with an RBI single before an errant pickoff throw to second base allowed Waters to score from third and make it 7-2.
“I have a lot of confidence in her. My problem tonight was that she had to slide three times,” Teets said of Anderson at the plate. ” … I don’t have the luxury of having many extra base runners. … She likes to run bases, but I don’t like her to. That’s a big loss if she slides in there and gets hurt.”
Those runs would prove valuable in the top of the seventh inning as the Marauders made things interesting. Kymilondjra Nance walked to open the frame and came all the way around to score without the benefit of a hit. Kaitlyn Davis followed with a walk and Emma Newton singled before back-to-back RBI ground outs by Ashley Gotowka and Olivia Yerico-Piazza made it 7-5.
“That’s something that’s definitely different this year than any other year I’ve coached. The last two games we’ve been down, and the seventh inning is usually our best inning,” said Dunkirk coach Michelle Gilmour, whose Marauders lost to Falconer, 8-6, on Wednesday. “We are going to work on that same intensity for all seven innings.”
With two outs, Olivia Smith lined out to shortstop Katelyn Fardink to end the game.
“We’re still working on things. It’s still early in the season,” Gilmour said. “With hitters and calling pitches, we’re still working through some things.”
Chautauqua Lake is scheduled to host Southwestern today, but in all likelihood will be off until after Easter break, when Johnson should be able to return from her injury.
“We had Mike call pitches tonight. He did a great job,” Teets said of longtime Ripley head coach and Chautauqua Lake assistant Mike Torrance. “It’s tough because Chay’s been in this league and knows all the batters. That’s a big loss behind the plate.”