MAYVILLE -Sue Teets admitted to feeling a mite concerned late in her Lady Thunderbirds' postseason contest with visiting Salamanca on Tuesday afternoon.
Sure, Teets' crew had scored a couple of runs - Ashley Moulton, who'd doubled, scored on a Lauren Cummings single in the first and Luci Sena, who'd hit a bunt single, had crossed home in the third thanks to an error - and, for the moment, held the lead; but through four innings they'd also stranded seven runners and had yet to come through with that clutch hit necessary to break the game open and guarantee for themselves a place in the quarterfinal round of the Section 6 Class C softball playoffs.
"I wasn't too comfortable," Teets said. "I was concerned. We had just left way too many stranded."
Chautauqua Lake second baseman Jade Walsh covers first base for an out on Salamanca’s Meagan Martin during Tuesday’s Section 6 Class C prequarterfinal softball game. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Rob Tucker
Luckily for Teets, that discomfort she was feeling was not long for this world.
Fifth-seeded Chautauqua Lake finally got those clutch hits and solved Salamanca hurler Kayla Jackson once and for all over the game's finally three frames, scoring four runs in the fifth inning and another six in the sixth on the way to a runaway victory over the No. 12 seed, 12-1.
The victory, which raised the Lady Thunderbirds' overall mark to 11-5 this season, propels the squad into in a quarterfinal battle with host, and fourth-seeded, Portville on Thursday at 4:45 p.m.
Lauren Cummings led Chautauqua Lake's 15-hit attack when she connected on four hits, including a pair of doubles (one of which was a near home run off the left field fence), in five at-bats with two runs scored and two RBIs; Hannah Rauh delivered a sacrifice fly to kick-off the four-run fifth as part of her two hits and two RBIs; and Gina Sena chipped in when she went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.
During the game-clinching fifth, it was Cummings who started things off with a double. Courtney Hewes followed by reaching on an error and then Cummings crossed home on Rauh's sacrifice to right, making the score 3-1. Next Jade Walsh doubled and Gina Sena singled, and the pair would eventually come around to score when Jackson misfired on a throw to third base, pushing the once slim lead to a comfortable 6-0.
"I think we were finally able to string some hits together," Teets said of the scoring outburst. "There were also a couple of errors that Salamanca committed that helped us, but we got a few good hits, too."
While Teets may have felt slightly concerned by the slow offensive start, those concerns were almost certainly directed at the future, because Chautauqua Lake's two early runs were plenty enough for the victory given the way Cummings was dealing in the circle.
The senior right hander didn't issue a single walk while surrendering just two hits - both to leadoff batter Micky Tinnerman - over seven innings, fanning 10.
Salamanca's lone run scored in the top of the fifth when Tinnerman singled, moved to third on the play when the Chautauqua Lake outfielder misplayed the rolling ball and then scored soon thereafter on a wild pitch.
Other than that, however, Cummings was just about unhittable.
"I think Lauren did an awesome job," Teets said of her pitcher, who at one point during the game sent down 11 in a row and 14 of 15. "She had a shutout going and she worked hard. I told her last night, 'You want to be out of here in the least amount of pitches,' because I didn't want them to get on (base).
"And she kept them off."
Up next is Portville, which got by 13th-seeded Silver Creek on Tuesday, 11-4, as Albanie Stives earned the complete-game victory while also driving in two runs.
The Lady Panthers have reached the sectional final in each of the past two seasons.
"We're going to work on some things - tagging up, bunting, (etc.) - so we can do whatever we can to get the win," Teets said.