By DOUG SMITH
Niagara Gazette — It was Black Friday on the base paths for the Blue and White. Mainland underdogs ousted both Grand Island Vikings from the Section VI playoffs. The least of the East Trojans from West Seneca rose up to strike down the softball team 4-0 and patchwork baseball lineup fell short against Hamburg, 9-7.
In softball, Grand Island fell behind in the fourth when WSE 8-hole Maddy Hillary singled after a leadoff walk and a misplayed bunt. East sealed it in the sixth on an adept pullback-and-slap by seventh hitter Madi Jaszcz and a two-strike, two-run double by ninth batter Brittany Nowatzki.
After GI drilled five hits with no reward in the first three innings, Trojan tosser Shannon Borwiak tightened. Only four Viking batters hit to the outfield thereafter.
Following Wednesday’s breathtaking no-hitter, Viking sophomore Alley Cutting struck out nine, walked two – both leadoffs – and allowed seven hits. Two Viking errors did not figure in the scoring. Playing their final games in the Blue and White, seniors Jessica Amsdill, Courtney Colligan and Ashley Colan each hit safely twice.
Turning to baseball...
“They made one more big play than we did,” said Coach Dean Santorio, as he tried to console every player with a hug while his daughter literally twisted his arm to go for ice cream.
Down three starters due to family and other commitments, GI rallied from 0-5 and 3-8, bringing the tying run to bat in both the sixth and seventh.
First it was John Holody in the sixth, Chris Foote on first, no out. Holody drilled one toward right. Bulldog second-baseman Matt Skelly made an impossible catch, took a moment to erase the “base hit” written all over it and tossed to short for a double play. Next it was Bryce Cullen, final inning, after a single by 2012 ultra-hero Matt Lenz.
Cullen slashed a lethal liner, caught by relief pitcher Jordan Paxson in self-defense. Double play, again. “They made one more big play than we did,” said Santorio. “The thing is, all the guys who played who sometimes don’t, they came up big.”
Adam Stanczyk had three hits and a walk, Cullen reached base twice before the fatal liner and Lenz brought the chilly throng to its feet with a Fuccillo-sized homer in the fifth, far beyond, even, Chris Foote’s Wednesday grand slam.
Tyler Shaw ignited the Bulldogs’ big insurance rally in the sixth and fan-of-the-day honors went to a sweetie of a Bullpup about 8 years old who would write “Go Dawgs” into a spiral notebook and rip out the sheets for fans to hold aloft. On Friday, she earned another day’s work.Contact Doug Smith at email@example.com