Red Dragons top Lady Bulldogs, 4-2

OBSERVER Photo by Roger Coda Brocton’s Juli Smith swings at a pitch during Wednesday’s CCAA Division 2 West softball game against Maple Grove, in Brocton.

BROCTON — The CCAA West 2 softball division has been close and competitive all year long. The Brocton Lady Bulldogs gave Maple Grove a competitive battle, but in the end, the Red Dragons claimed a 4-2 victory on Wednesday night at Brocton High School.

“We played great for the first four innings,” said Brocton coach Julie Arnold. “We got complacent and that did not go well for us. At the end of the day, it came down to who wanted it more, and they showed it by the plays that they made.”

Brocton was the first to score in the second inning. Annalise Wdowiasz got the rally started with a single. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, Jena Vacanti bunted her to third. Annalise Wdowiasz would score on an RBI single from her younger sister, Christine.

Maple Grove responded with a run in the top of the third. Clare Crossley, the leadoff hitter, got the rally started with a double. After an error brought her to third, Elise Swanson hit a sacrifice fly to level the game.

Brocton would take the lead back in the bottom half of the inning. Megan Gloss and Juli Smith both had singles to start off the inning. After a fielder’s choice, Annalise Wdowiasz singled home Smith.

Despite the scoreless middle innings, Maple Grove’s defense shined and took away well hit balls from Brocton. The outfield dove after multiple fly balls and came away with four solid catches.

“We have a lot of speed in the outfield,” Maple Grove coach Rebecca Allen stated. “Our left and right fielders are quick, with our center fielder showing great leadership. In the third inning, we let some balls land in front of us, but I told them afterwards, that they needed to place a better effort and get grass stains, where they delivered.”

The Red Dragons tied up the game in the sixth inning. Elise Swanson had a blast into the outfield that placed her on second base. Meghann Nolan recorded an infield single to bring Swanson to third. Pinch-hitter Brianna Karges brought home Swanson with a well hit single to left field.

Maple Grove came through with the go ahead run with two outs in the seventh inning. Kelsey Tarbrake started off with a single. Sammy Davis then added a single. After Erin Mansfield reached on a fielder’s choice, Swanson hit great in the clutch with a single to score Davis. Mansfield would score on the next pitch as it was a wild pitch.

“We eventually swung at better pitchers as the game went on,” Allen said. “Megan is tough and we went for her pitches, but settled in and capitalized with quality at bats. Overall, I am pleased because it was a well played game by both teams.”

Lynne Nordin pitched a solid game for Maple Grove, giving up two runs from eight hits while striking out five.

“Early on her she was struggling with her dropball,” Allen added. “She is experienced so she knows her strengths and weaknesses, making adjustments as the game went on.”

Megan Gloss gave a great effort in defeat, surrendering four runs from nine hits and two walks while striking out eight.

Swanson had the big hits of the day for the Red Dragons, recording two doubles and a single. Tarbrake also contributed with two singles, while Crossley added a double.

“Elise Swanson has timely hits and is a different hitter with runners in scoring position,” said Allen. “Nobody does better than her and she is a composed and consistent hitter.”

The Lady Bulldogs did not have an extra base hit, but Jenelle Grigelevich and Annalise Wdowiasz both had multiple hit games for the Bulldogs.

“Jenelle sees the ball well,” added Arnold. “She always does well while at the plate and she can hit anywhere in the lineup. Annalise has been hitting well lately and that comes from her effort and extra reps in practice.”

Brocton looks to get to winning ways as the Lady Bulldogs host Clymer today, while Maple Grove visits Panama on Friday.