Fredonia fends off late Dunkirk rally for win

Many times when Dunkirk and Fredonia meet up in softball, there is a lot at stake between the league rivals. Wednesday’s matchup may have been the first game of the season for both teams, but it provided all the dramatics a postseason game would have as the Lady Hillbillies downed the Lady Marauders, 8-7 in a CCAA West I contest.

“That was the first time we’ve been outside all year,” Fredonia assistant coach Bob Sievert said. “We have a lot of work to do, but a win is a win, and the more we are able to get outside, the more work we can put in.”

Dunkirk got off to an early lead after Emilee Hanlon scored a run for a 1-0 lead.

“We got an early jump with the run in the first,” Dunkirk coach John Sliwa said. “We hit the ball and got runners on base, but we left way too many runners stranded. We had some big hits, but not many of them came at the right time.”

The Lady Marauders added two more runs in the top of the third inning as Maddy Crandall reached base on a single and was driven home by a Riley Drummond double. Drummond scored later in the inning as Nicole Balzer belted an RBI single to give Dunkirk the 3-0 lead.

The Lady Hillbillies earned their first run in the bottom half of the third when Mekenna Leid reached base on an error. Cassie Essek moved Leid to second base with a sacrifice bunt, which Alicia Deering capitalized on with an RBI single.

“Alicia Deering is a hitter,” Sievert said. “She’s our senior captain and does a great job as one of our leaders.”

Fredonia added two more runs in the fourth to knot the game up at 3-all. Bre Dahn had a one-out double and scored on a Caitlyn Cybart RBI single. Cybart also scored later in the inning.

Quinn Bankoski and Sarah Hanlon each singled with one out in the top of the fifth for the Lady Marauders, which led to Carissa Dunn coming through with the biggest hit of the game for Dunkirk as she drove in two runs.

“We pressed and kept the game close,” Sliwa said. “We left runners on in almost every inning, but Carissa came up with the big triple to make sure we didn’t leave two more runners on.”

Fredonia answered in the bottom half of the fifth with an explosion of runs. The Lady Hillbillies put up four runs to take a 7-5 lead.

It all started when Deering led off with a double which was followed up by a Baylee Tarnowski single. With runners on first and third, Hannah Cybart, who was the courtesy runner for Tarnowski, was called out on a controversial interference call while trying to steal second. Despite taking an out, Fredonia continued to rally at the plate with Morgan Genovesse picking up a single to score a run. Katie Webster and Caitlyn Cybart each singled and scored later in the inning to give the Lady Hillbillies the two-run lead.

“Aimee Kaufman started the game off strong pitching for us,” Sliwa said. “I don’t know what went wrong towards the middle, but Riley Drummond came in and did a great job. The biggest problem was the bottom of their lineup killed us.”

The Fredonia 7, 8 and 9 hitters combined to go 4-for-8 with three walks, three runs and three RBI.

After the big inning at the plate for Fredonia, the Lady Hillbillie defense sat the Lady Marauders down in order.

In the sixth, Fredonia picked up one more run to make it 8-5.

The Lady Marauders came out strong in the seventh, with the first four batters reaching base. Drummond scored on Hanlon’s single, while Bankoski scored when Balzer singled.

It appeared as though the Lady Hillbillies were in big trouble with no outs and runners in scoring position, until the home team pulled a first-to-home double play which really got them out of a jam.

Fredonia was able to hang on to its one-run lead to earn the victory with Tarnowski going the distance in the circle.

Tarnowski had eight strike outs and did not allow a walk, while letting up 13 hits.

Fredonia is slated to be back in action today against Falconer, but the team is unsure if it will travel to Falconer or move the game to Fredonia due to Falconer’s field conditions.