CHEEKTOWAGA - Emily Maziarz's home run in the bottom of the eighth sent No. 1 Cleveland Hill past No. 8 Fredonia, 7-6, in Section 6 Class B-2 softball quarterfinal action, on Tuesday.
"It was a tough way to end a season," Fredonia head coach Joe Pucciarelli said. "But for us, it's a positive moment too. These last three or four games, the girls have really seen what it takes to play at the varsity level. Since the Dunkirk game, they really started believing in themselves."
Baylee Tarnowski was the tough-luck losing pitcher, allowing seven runs on 13 hits while striking out six and walking one.
"(Cleveland Hill) really only had four or five hard-hit balls all game," Pucciarelli noted. "She did her job. We left knowing we left everything on the field."
Cleveland Hill struck first in the bottom of the first, as Ryan Betz had a two-run single. An RBI single off the bat of Alicia Deering got the Lady Hillbillies to within one of the lead in the third inning, before Fredonia battled all the way back in its half of the fifth inning to take a 4-1 lead.
Kayla Voss singled to get the rally started, before Margaret Wright reached on an error that sent Voss to third. With one out, Deering plated Voss and Wright with a two-run triple while Arrica Lis put the Lady Hillbillies up 4-2 with an RBI ground out.
"I don't think a girl hit the ball harder all year," Pucciarelli said of Deering. "She hits line drives all over the place. She had a real good year for us."
Cleveland Hill battled back in the bottom of the fifth, getting a two-run homer from Maziarz. However, Fredonia put up another pair of runs in the top of the seventh on a two-run homer from Deering, who finished with three hits and five RBIs.
Unfortunately for the Lady Hillbillies, their upset bid was not to be, as Cleveland Hill rallied again to tie the game in its last at-bat, scoring a pair runs, one of which was unearned.
For five seniors, Tuesday's loss marked the last time they will take the field as Lady Hillbillies. The quintet includes Katie Majka, Lauren Budniewski, Michelle Napierala, Lis and Voss, who finished her final varsity contest with a pair of hits.
"She really stepped up too," Pucciarelli said of Voss. "Her grandpa died (Tuesday) and we didn't know if we were going to have her and she came through. She played with a heavy heart and had two hits. Like she said, she did it for her grandpa."
No. 7 Gowanda 15, No. 2 City Honors 3
BUFFALO - The No. 7 Gowanda Lady Panthers pulled off a big upset Tuesday as they handled No. 2 City Honors, 15-3, in Section 6 Class B-2 quarterfinal action.
CJ Sawatis was the winning pitcher as she fanned six and allowed just walks and nine hits.
Jess Sowa led the offense as she had three hits including a homer and two RBIs. Skylar Ondus added two singles and a double while Hunter White had a double, two triples and a single in the win. Sawatis helped her own cause with a single and a homer.
Gowanda now travels to No. 6 Akron on Friday. Akron upset No. 3 Roy-Hart.