Fredonia downs SW, claims CCAA Division 1 West title
WEST ELLICOTT — It’s only been five years, but it felt like an eternity to Jesse Beers.
Fredonia clinched its first Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 West league title since 2016 on Tuesday with a 4-3 victory over Southwestern.
“We talked about it before the season and more recently when we saw that we had a good shot at it. … The league has been strong, so the fact that we haven’t won the league but have been in three sectional finals speaks volumes,” Beers said postgame. ” … It’s nice to get back there. … League championships are good, but sectional championships are better. We still have our eyes on the big prize.”
Maddy Marsh threw six innings in the circle, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out two. Marissa Cash closed the door in the seventh, retiring the side in order with a pair of strikeouts.
Fredonia (12-1, 10-1) got all of the runs it would need in a four-run third inning. Jaelyn Davis led off with a walk and went to third on Erin Schrantz’s single. Marsh then grounded to the shortstop, who tried to throw Davis out at home, but the throw was just late.
After an infield pop-up and an error, Nevaeh Zadzilka hit a two-run single to make it 3-0.
“She’s been really putting in the work. She’s been grinding day in and day out asking for advice,” Beers said. ” … She’s been doing everything that she needs to and that’s why she’s hitting No. 3 in our lineup.”
Jenna Truby, who had reached on the earlier error, then scored on a passed ball but handed the ball to the Southwestern player covering home and was called for interference so Zadzilka was called out at third.
Southwestern’s Katie Lowe then struck out the next batter to get out of the inning.
The Trojans (4-7, 3-7) answered with a pair of runs in their half of the third. Morgan Curry led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Lia Constantino. Teagan Shedd followed with an RBI single to make it 4-1.
Kylee Dibble then hit a groundout to third base, but the Hillbillies attempted to get Shedd out going first to third and the throw was wild, allowing Shedd to score Southwestern’s second run.
“We’re still kind of sorting out missing last year. … A lot of that mental aspect of the game is still coming along for them,” Beers said. ” … The fact we only have two seniors and we’re 12-1 at this point, I guess that says our youth is coming.”
Marsh got out of the inning on a comebacker to the circle.
“She’d probably be the first one to tell you that she was grinding today,” Beers said. “She did enough.”
Fredonia nearly added on in the top of the sixth inning when Davis tripled to deep center field. Dibble tracked the ball down and started a perfect relay to shortstop Ally Durnell, who relayed the ball to pitcher Sofia Genareo, who in turn fired to catcher Madison Cresanti for the out at the plate.
“Kylee was fantastic,” Southwestern head coach Jennifer Anderson said. “That was a tremendous relay with her and Ally.”
The Trojans made it 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning as Dibble singled with one out, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Lowe’s RBI single to right field.
“That’s a big at-bat for her. She’s been working hard,” Anderson said of Lowe. “To see her come through in a big situation like that was great.”
With the potential tying run on third, Cresanti hit a grounder that nearly made it into center field, but Davis made a nice play at shortstop and stepped on second base for a force out to end the frame.
“We get one or two hits, but we’re not stringing them together,” Anderson said. “We’ve outhit teams, but we just can’t string them together. That’s been our luck all year.”
Genareo got out of a first-and-second jam in the top of the seventh, but the Trojans were unable to produce against Cash in the bottom of the inning.
“They had Nos. 7, 8, 9 coming up and I wanted to give them a different look. It looked like they were starting to settle in to what Maddy was throwing,” Beers said. ” … It paid off because Marissa came in and just slammed the door.”
“We’ve been playing well all season. We haven’t been out of many games,” Anderson said. ” … Fredonia is a great team and we battled back. … We just couldn’t get that extra run.”
Lowe and Genareo combined on a six-hitter with five strikeouts and four walks.
“It brings a different look,” Anderson said. “I have a little bit of a luxury because I have three or four girls who can put it across.”
Now Southwestern we’ll likely need wins today in Olean and Thursday home against Jamestown just to make it into the eight-team Section VI Class B2 playoffs, which begin next week.
“We’ve been playing much better. The first time we played Olean was our first game of the season,” Anderson said. ” … We were missing three starters and it was a tough game.”
Fredonia, meanwhile, is likely to get a home quarterfinal game as one of the top four seeds.
“We are still far from a finished team,” Beers said. ” … In years past we’ve been a little bit more polished at this point in the year.”