Gowanda Ousts Trojans
Panthers Rally From Three-Run Deficit To Advance In B2
GOWANDA — No. 8 Gowanda came back from an early deficit to defeat No. 9 Southwestern, 7-6, in a Section VI Class B2 prequarterfinal game on Wednesday evening.
Southwestern started quickly, with two runs in the first inning. Erin Radack and Hadyn Swan-Leuze both singled. Alanna Dibble hit a sacrifice fly to score Radack, but an errant throw into the infield allowed Swan-Leuze to also make it home.
Gowanda had a big rally in the second inning with the bases loaded and one out. Southwestern second baseman Sarah Chau made a great play to catch a pop fly while putting down the tag immediately on the first base runner to end the rally.
“We got out of a few pinches early with great defense,” Southwestern coach Jennifer Anderson said. “Unfortunately, we put ourselves in these situations too many times and Gowanda had a few timely hits.”
Gowanda was able to push a run across in the third inning. Alicia Barlow was hit by a pitch and stole second. She eventually scored on a wild pitch. Southwestern got its second double play in as many innings from third baseman Samicka Mathews who retrieved a ground ball and stepped on the bag before throwing to first.
“In the early innings, we hit the ball well, but it did not show because Southwestern’s infielders made quality plays,” Gowanda coach Tyler Thompson said. “It is unusual to see that type of play come from somebody at this level, but their shortstop (Radack) made unbelievable plays that you usually don’t see.”
Dibble led off the top of the fourth with a single up the middle. After Sofia Genareo walked, Hali Herb came through with an RBI single. Later in the inning, Genareo scored on a wild pitch.
Gowanda’s first hit of the game came in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out bunt single from Rachel Christopher. Makenzie Carroll and Alicia Barlow followed with singles to load the bases. Zoey Kota had a bases-clearing triple with a deep ball that went to the fence in right field. Kota would score on a wild pitch to give the Panthers their first lead of the game.
“We have a young squad that has been getting better,” Thompson said. “We hit our stride late in the year and have matured fast. We have seen the output that we have been waiting for lately after putting in a full seven innings.”
Gowanda added insurance runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Maddie Clark led off with a single and was brought home by a single from seventh-grade pinch-hitter Lena Stevens.
“I am happy with how we hit the ball,” Thompson added. “We made solid contact the entire game and our younger underclassmen really stepped up today.”
In the sixth inning, Carroll walked and scored on a wild pitch.
Southwestern would put together a rally of its own in the seventh. Radack led off with a double followed by Swan-Leuze who received a free pass. After Radack scored on a wild pitch, Dibble came through with an RBI single. Gowanda pitcher Kota would end the threat as she forced a groundout with the tying run at second.
“We have been snake bitten with errors this year,” Thompson added. “Today we played real well and did not have the costly error. Our seniors have shown great leadership and it was an honor to recognize them tonight with Senior Night.”
Kota pitched the complete game for the Panthers, giving up six runs on seven hits and five walks while striking out three.
Genareo gave a valiant effort in defeat, giving up seven runs on six hits and six walks in six innings of work while fanning two.
Kota had the lone multi-hit game for the Panthers. Southwestern was led by Radack, Swan-Leuze and Dibble who each had two hits. Radack had the only extra-base hit for the Trojans with a double in the seventh.
“It was a great game and a good battle with two teams that are very similar,” Anderson said. “It has been a pleasure working with these seniors who have worked hard and I have got to know since they were in ninth grade. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the win and their careers come to an end, but I appreciate everything that they have accomplished over the years.”
Gowanda plays a quarterfinal game today at Akron High School against an undefeated Roy-Hart team.