Portville avenges previous loss against Chautauqua Lake, 8-2
ST. BONAVENTURE — No. 1 Chautauqua Lake and No. 2 Portville have gotten to know each other well, meeting in each of the last four Section VI Class C1 softball finals.
While the Thunderbirds claimed the matchup in 2018 on their way to a state title, Friday’s grudge match favored the Panthers via an 8-2 final as Portville hammered out six hits and took advantage of three errors in a crucial seventh inning.
That decisive six-run swing followed just after the game was briefly suspended due to heavy rain.
“We had to battle through the half inning with the rain, and then they called the rain delay,” said Portville coach William Torrey.
“That gives them a chance to regroup, us a time to settle down but the girls stayed loose and were ready to go. We came out on top, they made big plays when they had to, it was nice.”
Portville is now 15-6 on the year while the Thunderbirds finish at 14-5.
Just before the weather turned for the worse, Chautauqua Lake was able to bring the game back to even at 2-2. In the bottom of the sixth Katelyn Fardink got things started with a short single to left field, which was followed by a walk from Cianna Braymiller. With runners in scoring position, Kendra Keyser got a hold of a ball that was ripped to deep left field.
Both Fardink and Braymiller would sprint home on that play as the ball was bobbled on its way in, bringing Chautauqua Lake back to even before the game was suspended.
“We had just got the momentum back,” Chautauqua Lake coach Sue Teets said.
“After the rain delay…I felt like that was a big bummer for us. No excuses though. They had some good solid hits, they are well coached.”
Entering the seventh, Faith Capito would be the first Panther to take advantage of the wet conditions as she struck a ground ball and was able to make it all the way to third base following a throwing error.
Portville would make it 3-2 on a fielder’s choice as Sierra Keim laid down a bunt and was tossed out at first while Capito ran home on the back side.
After a single by Jillian Hlasnick it was Bryn Milne’s turn to build the lead as the senior captain chipped an RBI double over third base.
Karly Welty would increase the margin to 5-2, chopping a short ground ball and beating out the throw to first while Milne ran home. That was followed by an RBI double from Brooke DeYoe on a hard-hit ball to left field.
Two more errors would give the Panthers their seventh run, while Olivia Emley cracked an RBI single to right center field to finish off the six-run push.
“We always say that hitting is contagious. You just have to get the bat on the ball and it will go, having confidence is so key especially in high school athletics,” said Torrey.
Portville would start out with an RBI single from Mia Hlasnick in the first, building that into a 2-0 lead in the third as Chautauqua Lake suffered from more errors in the field to plate Welty after her first single of the day.
DeYoe would keep the Thunderbirds off balance for much of the day, as the sophomore hurler finished with seven strikeouts and five walks.
“She had a heck of a changeup today. I haven’t seen her all year, she hit her spots and we couldn’t get the ball in play there for a little bit,” Teets said of DeYoe.
Apart from the seventh-inning, Olivia Anderson would stay out of trouble for much of the afternoon in the circle for Chautauqua Lake, ending her last high school game with 10 strikeouts and just one walk.
“Chautauqua Lake is very talented, they can hit the ball, they have solid pitching behind it. It is pivotal that you are able to jump out early and come out with some fire,” said Torrey.
Portville will now look to advance to Far West Regional play and claim an outright Class C title as they take on Maple Grove on Monday at 4 p.m., back at Joyce Field.