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Chautauqua Lake edges Maple Grove to advance to Section VI Softball Quarterfinals

Mayville, NY- Less then a week ago, Chautauqua Lake edged Maple Grove 7-6, in a game that took nine innings to complete. Wednesday afternoon, again on their home field, they got the job done again, without extra innings being required.

Pitcher Olivia Herrington (Jr) struck out 11 batters, surrendered 6 runs on 8 hits and 4 walks to pace Chautauqua Lake to a 7-6 victory in the Class C Pre-Quarterfinal.

“Kind of not anything, really” the junior remarked about what was and wasn’t working for her on the mound. “I just kept throwing my rise ball, just messing with the batters.”

Herrington’s pitching was backed up with defense that although was shaky at times, they were able to make the plays that counted when they needed them to put the game away. “We need to clean up a lot of our responsibilities” said Coach Susan Teets. “We just needed to settle down mentally.”

It looked like early on Chautauqua Lake was going to run away with It. Three Maple Grove errors in the second inning allowed Chautauqua Lake to take an early 3-0 lead. “Those were a difference maker. In a tight ballgame, they’re going to make or break it,” Teets said.

Herrington to that point had three strikeouts. Two hits and a passed ball later, Maple Grove scored their first run in the top of the 3rd to make it a 3-1 game.

Chautauqua Lake attempted to counter in the bottom half of the 3rd, getting runners on second and third with two outs. Lydia Darr (Freshman) was unfazed though, picking up one of her three strikeouts to keep the game at 3-1. Maple Grove then responded in the top half of the fourth with two hits, but Herrington picked up another strikeout and kept the runners from scoring to keep it 3-1.

Then the rain started.

The first three and a half innings had an on/off sprinkle, and that sprinkle turned into a light rain when Chautauqua Lake came up to bat in the 4th inning. They added four more hits and were the beneficiaries of two hit by pitches (4 total in the game) to balloon their lead to 5-1. They loaded the bases with one out, and an opportunity to blow the game open and put it out of reach was right in front of them.

And then Maple Grove’s defense stepped up.

A groundball directly to first baseman Megan Lockwood allowed her to make the quick throw home to Eliza Dawes for the first out. The runner that advanced to second got a little too far out, so Dawes fired the ball back towards Erin Mansfield to get the tag, but the runner was safe. Chautauqua Lake sent their runner from third at the same time in attempt to add another run, but Mansfield promptly fired the ball back to Dawes to get the tag and stop the bleeding.

Maple Grove P Lydia Darr delivers a pitch in Wednesday’s Pre-quarterfinal. — Alex Kolstee (@alex_kolstee) May 19, 2022

Maple Grove, now with a bit of life breathed back into them, followed up in the top of the fifth with a single by Harper Dawes that allowed Maple Grove to get a run back. A passed ball later in the inning allowed them to cut the Thunderbirds’ lead to 5-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth.

By the 7th inning, Chautauqua Lake’s lead ballooned to 7-4. Down, but not out, Maple Grove attempted a comeback. A Sam Snow (Senior) blooper into left field that dropped between the shortstop and left fielder plated two runs, and just like that, Maple Grove was within one.

“Maple Grove plays us tough all the time. They’re well coached, they come to play, and they don’t give up,” Teets remarked about the Dragons.

Herrington, however, would pick up her 11th strikeout and proceed to shut down the Maple Grove offense and stave off Maple Grove’s rally to seal the win. The win advances them to the quarterfinals against the #3 seed, Gowanda.

“Her arm has been the difference on this team. She brings it every game. Today was a little unfortunate with the weather,” Coach Teets remarked.

Not to be outdone, freshman Cayzlee Johnson was a huge spark for the Thunderbird offense, going 3-4 with a trio of singles and recording three RBIs. “I feel like if we play the game we know how to play and do well as a team, and have the right mindset, we can go far,” Johnson remarked. When asked about Herrington’s performance, she put it simply: “She’s the biggest part of the team, she’s an amazing pitcher. I love working behind her.”

Maple Grove’s starter Lydia Darr (Fr) ended out the evening surrendering 7 runs on 11 hits and 4 batters hit, to go along with her three strikeouts.

The Thunderbirds advance to Thursday’s quarterfinal at Gowanda at 5:00pm. The two teams did not meet in the regular season. Gowanda’s last game of the season was a 13-4 victory over Silver Creek on May 13, that moved their record to 14-4.

Offensive Player of the Game: Chautauqua Lake #6 Cayzlee Johnson (Fr): 3-4, 3 singles, 3 RBI

Defensive Player of the Game: Chautauqua Lake #14 Olivia Herrington (Jr): 7 IP, 11 K, 8 H, 6 R, 4 BB

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