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Eagles Don’t Skip A Beat In Yudin’s First Year

Chautauqua Lake won the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 2 West and lost in the Section VI Class C championship game in Katie Yudin’s first season as head coach. P-J photo by Christian Storms

Katie Yudin had some big shoes to fill when she took over as the head coach of Chautauqua Lake softball, replacing state champion-winning coach Sue Teets.

On top of that, the Eagles graduated several key seniors, including a Division I pitcher in Canisius’ Olivia Herrington.

Yudin’s first game was a narrow 3-2 loss to Falconer, but then it was off to the races as her Eagles won 14 games in a row. In that 14-game winning streak, Chautauqua Lake was able to run the table in Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 2 West with a perfect league record of 10-0.

In just her first season at the helm, Yudin captured the league title and for that she was named Coach of the Year along with her staff.

The Eagles earned the No. 2 seed in the Class C playoffs and were one win away from winning the sectional title. Chautauqua Lake first mowed past Cattaraugus-Little Valley with ease in the quarterfinals 12-0 and then in the semifinals the Eagles unseated the defending Class C state champions Gowanda 7-0.

Chautauqua Lake won the season series against Westfield, but the only loss came in the sectional final when the Wolverines broke the scoreless tie in the seventh inning thanks to some untimely errors in the field.

Chautauqua Lake ended its first season under Yudin with a 16-4 record and a league title.

While Yudin earned recognition in the league as the top coach, she also helped her players earn high marks throughout the season as they acquired accolades.

Claiming the top individual award for Chautauqua Lake was junior pitcher Cayzlee Johnson, who dominated the circle for the Eagles as she earned the league Player of the Year award. Johnson pitched 96 innings this season and accumulated a 14-1 record, struck out 137 batters, allowed 21 runs and only 11 earned, posted a 0.802 ERA and held opponents to a .129 batting average. Then at the plate, she hit .531 with 14 doubles, three triples, a homer, 16 RBIs and slugged .919.

Johnson’s accomplishments extended beyond the league as she was honored by the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports in Class C by being named to the Second Team.

Chautauqua Lake landed two more selections on the league First Team in sophomore third baseman Lucy Gates, who hit .465 with 24 hits, including seven doubles, four triples, one home run, had 12 RBIs, 19 runs scored and slugged .639; and freshman catcher Karagan Fairbank, who hit .450 with 23 hits, including three doubles and a triple, had 12 RBIs, 13 runs scored and slugged .500. Jillian Miller and Alice Scarpine were named to the Second Team and Kinslee Motter received honorable mention in the league.

All in all as a team, Chautauqua Lake finished 16-4, outscored opponents 118-31 and posted four shutouts. The Eagles amassed 164 hits, 34 doubles, nine triples, three home runs, 77 RBIs, 81 walks and 48 stolen bases.

Between Johnson and Alexis Szumigala in the circle, Chautauqua Lake held opponents to a .165 batting average and surrendered just 14 earned runs on 87 hits and struck out 169 batters.

In a remarkable first season replacing legendary Chautauqua Lake head coach Sue Teets, Yudin’s year ends as the 2024 Post-Journal/OBSERVER Girls Softball Coach of the Year.

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