Teets Sees Room To Grow
T’Birds Coach Concerned With Finish In 9-4 Win
Following a string of errors to begin the final inning of Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 West play on Tuesday, it was clear that Chautauqua Lake softball coach Sue Teets was not only concerned with her team holding onto the lead.
While the Lady Thunderbirds would get out of the late-game jam and move on to pick up a 9-4 win over host Southwestern (3-8, 3-7), it was evident that there is still room for improvement in the eyes of their coach.
“One of our goals this whole season was to focus throughout the beginning of the season to the end,” said Teets, whose team now stands at 9-2. “One day I think we’re up, like yesterday we played Dunkirk and it was total focus from practice before the game all the way through, just intense. In a game, when you start up, you finish strong, I don’t know what the excuses were today. But finish strong, help your pitcher out, she’s out here working her tail off, you’ve gotta make plays. I think we’re just booting the ball, not focusing.”
Olivia Anderson would pick up another win in the circle for Chautauqua Lake, fanning 12 batters and walking three. The junior also cracked a single and stole a base in the first inning, belted a three-run home run in the second to lift her team to a 6-0 lead, and added a double in the fourth for good measure.
Chadelynn Johnson led things off in the first with a walk for the visitors, and was then moved to second on a sacrifice fly by Katelyn Fardink before Anderson picked up her single.
Johnson would score the first run of the day following a passed ball, which was followed up by an RBI triple from Cianna Braymiller and a third run that scored following an infield error to make it 3-0 after the first half.
“The top of my lineup is just crushing the ball, crushing the ball,” Teets said of her offense. “Even the bottom of my lineup is starting to come through. We’ve gotta execute bunts though … couldn’t do that today. We’re trying to work on some things, we’ve got playoffs, you want to be able to move a runner.”
Erin Radack would threaten in response for the Trojans in the bottom half of the first, after a single and a stolen base, but Anderson was able to get out of that jam and return to the plate, hitting a fly ball to deep center that cleared Johnson and Fardink from the bases to make it 6-0.
“Last time we played them they didn’t (have as much offense), but … we look at their lineup and we know they’ve got some hitters in there. They brought their bats today that is for sure, they did a nice job,” Southwestern coach Jenn Anderson said.
While the Thunderbirds have had the benefit of veterans in the circle and behind the plate this season, Anderson continues to develop her talented underclassmen hurlers; freshman Sofia Genareo and eighth-grader Ashton Beckerink.
The former would pitch six innings, walking four and fanning four, while Beckerink got out of the seventh with one strikeout under her belt.
“We’re definitely working with young pitchers, but they’ve come along way, they really have. Strikeouts are up, their walks are down, they are getting more comfortable out there. Sometimes it’s a little bit of growing pains with the young kids but they’re doing a great job. They’ve improved tremendously, sometimes we’ve just got to back them up a little bit too.”
The first offensive salvo for the Trojans would come in the third, as Radack collected another single and Hadyn Swan-Leuze took first following a fielder’s choice that tossed out Genareo following her leadoff walk.
That brought Katie Brinkley to the plate, where she cracked a double to score Radack and Swan-Leuze to pull Southwestern within four.
But Chautauqua Lake had all the answers on offense, as the fourth followed with Anderson’s double, after which Braymiller was walked to first and stole second.
Anderson then scored the seventh run of the day on a passed ball while Breanna Hopkins got on the board with a two-RBI double for the final pair of runs for the Thunderbirds.
Southwestern would respond once more in the fifth with a single by Swan-Leuze, a walk from Alanna Dibble, an RBI single by Jade Derby and another run following a fielder’s choice.
Radack would add another single in the sixth, and the Trojans would threaten to close the gap following a set of errors in the seventh before Anderson closed out her day.
“As far as the beginning of the season I think we’ve progressed quite a bit, but we still have work to do,” Teets said.