Crunch time

Westfield coasts past Barker into final

OBSERVER File Photo by Ashleigh Brown The top-seeded Fredonia Hillbillies, led by senior pitcher Jordan Lucas, will take on No. 2 Depew in the Class B1 softball final today at 5 p.m. in Grand Island.

BARKER — No. 5 Westfield jumped out to a 3-0 first-inning lead and beat No. 1 Barker 7-1 in a Section VI Class C softball semifinal Wednesday evening.

Next up for the Wolverines – who won back-to-back Class D titles in 2022 and 2023 – is a date with either No. 3 Gowanda or No. 2 Chautauqua Lake in the title game Tuesday at Allegany-Limestone. The Panthers and Eagles were rained out Wednesday and will play today in Mayville.

Westfield came out firing in the first inning Wednesday. Tanleigh Bestine singled and Eva Gnadzinski walked before Mackenzie Schumaker drove in Bestine and reached on an error with a sacrifice bunt before the Bulldogs even recorded an out. Sydney Hotchkiss then walked to load the bases. Maddie Burgess followed with a sacrifice fly to score courtesy-runner Charly Mathews and Drew Ernewein hit an RBI groundout to make it 3-0.

In the second, Arielle Corbett doubled and stole third before Bestine hit an RBI groundout.

The Wolverines made it 6-0 in the third inning. Hotchkiss walked with one out and Burgess singled before Drew Ernewein’s RBI single. After another walk, Brynn Ernewein hit an RBI single.

OBSERVER File Photo by Ashleigh Brown Fredonia’s second-seeded baseball team, including junior catcher Andrew Cowan, will host No. 3 Portville in a 5:30 p.m. Class B semifinal today at Fredonia High School.

In the top of the fourth, Schumaker singled and stole second before a two-out RBI single by Burgess to make it 7-0.

The Bulldogs broke up the shutout in the bottom of the fifth when Madelina Pavlock led off with a walk and eventually scored on Arnie Sturtevant’s RBI single. But Gnadzinski stranded Sturtevant at second base and then retired the final six Barker batters in order to send Westfield into the final.

Gnadzinski finished with a two-hitter, walking two and hitting a batter while striking out seven.

Peyton Bradley and Madyson Flint combined on a seven-hitter with four walks and four strikeouts for the Bulldogs.


OBSERVER File Photo by Ashleigh Brown Dunkirk’s seventh-seeded baseball team and junior Greg Orcutt, will travel to No. 3 Depew for a 5 p.m. semifinal today in Class A2.


ELLICOTTVILLE — The long ball sent No. 1 Ellicottville into the sectional final.

Courtney Marsh hit a three-run home run and Jaida Mendell hit a two-run home run as the Eagles beat No. 4 Panama 5-2 in a Section VI Class D semifinal.

In the bottom of the first inning, Ande Northrup and Mendell walked before Marsh hit a three-run home run to center field to make it 3-0 before the Panthers recorded an out.

Panama struck back in the top of the second when a walk and an error were followed by Kiera Loberg’s two-run double to left-center field.

But Ellicottville quickly rebuilt its cushion in the bottom of the second. With two outs, Northrup walked again before Mendell hit a two-run home run to right-center field.

The five runs were plenty for Katie Lafferty, who finished with eight strikeouts while throwing a one-hitter.

Jessica Lyon scattered seven hits, walked five, hit a batter and struck out five for the Panthers.

“Once we got to the third inning, it was a pitchers’ duel,” Ellicottville head coach Matt Finn said.

The Eagles, who last won a sectional title in 1998, lost in the final two years ago to Westfield. They will play the winner of today’s semifinal between No. 7 Pine Valley and No. 3 Clymer/Sherman in Clymer.


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