By Jay Young
It took eight innings, but only two hits for fifth-seeded Cattaraugus-Little Valley (16-1) to take home its first-ever Section 6 Class C softball title with a tight 1-0 win over sixth-seeded Franklinville (16-3) at the Martin Road Complex on Tuesday afternoon.
Sara Crandall of Cattaraugus-Little Valley delivers a pitch in the Lady Timberwolves’ Section 6 Class C softball championship win over Franklinville on Tuesday.
Photo by Lisa Monacelli
The teams were locked in a defensive stalemate for seven innings of play before Hannah Powers came through with a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the eighth.
Franklinville's Ally Haskell rode a no-hitter into the eighth before Powers' heroics decided the game. The eighth-grade hurler fanned 11 Lady Timberwolves and walked two in taking the hard-fought loss.
"She was phenomenal the entire game,'' said Lady Timberwolves coach Heather Hyde. ''I mean one hit over eight innings is amazing, she deserves so much for that. She's only in eighth grade, so I'm sure we'll see her again."
Leading the way for Cattaraugus-Little Valley in the circle was Sara Crandall, who notched seven strikeouts and two hit batters in eight innings to claim the win.
The senior captain fended off every offensive push from the Lady Panthers, including a pair of close calls in the final two frames.
Crandall was able to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning after a lead-off single by Linnea Pollock and a pair of walks.
Then Haskell hammered a deep triple to right field in the third, but could not get home as Crandall got to work throwing strikes.
"Sara battled through, she struggled, she hit a couple of batters in the first inning,'' said Hyde. ''She didn't seem to have as much zip on her ball, but she was able to locate it and still get the outs that she needed."
It looked like Franklinville was in perfect position to seize a victory during in the top of the seventh after a fielding error put a runner on base. That chance was swiftly taken away after the Lady Timberwolves turned a double play as the fans rose to their feet.
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The next time Crandall stepped into the circle in the eighth, she had to fend off another charge when Ashley Leederman struck a single and Haskell did the same. Another hit in the infield saw Leederman sprint for home with the go-ahead run, but the senior was thrown out at the plate.
The Lady Timberwolves then turned two as Haskell was tossed out while trying to reach third.
"You wouldn't believe how many times we go through those defensive plays in practice,'' said Hyde. ''All season long we practice and practice and practice. They know that if the runner is in scoring position that they have to be ready fire home and they did."
She added, "It takes a good play and it was a great play. It showed that they really wanted to win."
That positive swing in momentum for Cattaraugus-Little Valley carried over into the final half inning as Alexia Ploetz struck a lead-off single for their first hit of the day. Ploetz was moved to third on a fielder's choice before Powers stepped up to the plate and stung a low-hanging ball up the first base line to ignite the Lady Timberwolves' bench.
"They have worked so hard to get this far, I don't know it's an awesome feeling, they obviously are super excited," said Haskel.
The Lady Timberwolves will now take on Section 5 champion Bolivar-Richburg on Friday at Brockport State at 3 p.m.