Eagles Slide By

Big 6th Inning Sends Chautauqua Lake Past Panama

Chautauqua Lake’s Alice Scarpine slides safely into home during Thursday’s CCAA Division 2 West game in Panama. P-J photo by Christian Storms

PANAMA — The No. 11-ranked Class C softball team in the state, Chautauqua Lake, was put to the test in Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 2 West action, tied with Panama 4-4 through five innings on Thursday.

However, after going back and forth with the Panthers, the Eagles finally got their big inning in the top of the sixth when they scored seven runs to build an 11-4 lead and needed just six defensive outs to stay undefeated in the league.

“I’m really proud of them,” Chautauqua Lake head coach Katie Yudin stated. “They came out firing at us early, put the pressure on us and were aggressive at the plate. I’m really proud of how our girls responded, chipped away each inning and came out with the win.”

Panama tacked on one more run in the bottom of the seventh, but the deficit was too much at Deb Palmer Field as the Eagles left with an 11-5 victory.

“One thing I’m super proud of them is that they don’t give up,” Panama head coach Tammy Hosier said about her team. “I’ve had teams before that would just be like ‘we’re not winning this team, so we’re done’ and they were up cheering and came back and scored.”

Panama’s Sarah Harvey tags out Chautauqua Lake’s Sydney Williams during Thursday’s CCAA Division 2 game in Panama. P-J photo by Christian Storms

In the critical sixth inning, much of the damage done was self-inflicted by Panama making errors in the field.

“That’s kind of been our downfall this season,” Hosier said about her team. “We’ve played some great softball and then we’ve had one or two bad innings. You dig yourself a hole that you can’t come back from.”

While the errors did help Chautauqua Lake (6-1, 5-0), some big at-bats were had in the inning as both Karagan Fairbank and Kinslee Motter hammered two-run doubles, and then both came across as the Eagles’ final runs.

“I think everyone in the batting lineup contributed,” Yudin said about the offense. “We made big hits when we needed to. Kinslee and Karagan, they did a nice job, they struggled the first two at-bats striking out two times and coming to the plate a third time not hanging their heads to find a way to get on is huge.”

Alice Scarpine, Jill Miller, Eden Ludwig, Cayzlee Johnson and Lucy Gates reached home in the inning as Chautauqua Lake pulled away.

Panthers’ Corinne Hovey scores a run. P-J photo by Christian Storms

The big inning was much needed from Chautauqua Lake after uncharacteristically falling back early in the contest when the top of Panama’s lineup got after Johnson in the circle.

In the bottom of the first, Corinne Hovey walked with one out and then was promptly moved to third when Kaitlyn Horton laced a double into left-center field. With two runners in scoring position, Kylie Morgan hammered a two-run triple before reaching home herself on a bad throw to third to go up 3-0.

“That was nice to see, because a couple of them have been in hitting slumps,” Hosier said about the top of the lineup. “For them to come through today was big and that’s going to help us going into the future. We have a few that are at the bottom of the lineup that are in a hitting slump right now and I just said the last game we played we had two others in a slump.”

After giving up the three early runs, Johnson settled into the circle and turned in another strong performance for the Eagles. She finished the game with 12 strikeouts, while giving up seven hits and three walks.

“She was throwing strikes and they were finding the zone, but they were finding the gaps and hitting the ball,” Yudin said about Johnson. “But I’m really proud of how she didn’t just back down and found a way to mix it up a little bit and complete the game.”

Johnson got runs back for herself in the top of the third inning when she cashed in on two Eagles walking to start the frame, hammering a double that scored both Miller and Ludwig. Then, in the top of the fourth, Chautauqua Lake equalized and took the lead when Panama errors scored Scarpine and Miller making it 4-3.

Even when back by just one run or by seven, Panama did not give up when things got tough. In the bottom of the fifth, Hovey doubled and advanced to third on a bad throw before being sacrificed home by Horton to tie the game.

Then, in the bottom of the seventh trailing 11-4, Panama did not give up either and the top of the lineup cashed in again. Hovey reached on an infield single then stole second and was hit home for the third time as Horton collected her second RBI of the game.

Jessica Lyon took the loss in the circle for Panama (2-4, 1-3), pitching 5 1/3 innings in which she struck out seven, walked two and gave up four earned runs.


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