FALCONER, New York – Before their Class C quarterfinal game got underway the Falconer softball team was getting loose in the dugout – not by throwing softballs around – but by dancing to the Cupid Shuffle.
They’ll now be shuffling into the Section VI Class C Semifinals.
Sparked by the arm of 8th grader Hannah Melquist and a strong offense, the No. 1 seed Falconer Falcons cruised to a 7-0 victory over the Silver Creek Black Knights in the Section VI Class C quarterfinals at Ernie Strickland Field Thursday evening.
“She’s incredible, for her age it’s impressive to see her compete at this level,” Falconer coach Kayleigh Sieber said.
Melquist struck out two batters in the top half of the first, and Falconer quickly got to work in the bottom half of the inning to give her some sun support.
After Silver Creek pitcher Kaylee Hutchison recorded two strikeouts, Tessa Spangenberg hit a single into left field to get on base. She promptly stole second on the next pitch, and then Emily Melquist drove her in with an RBI double. Ashton Beckerink followed that up with an RBI double of her own to drive in Melquist and gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead after the first.
Melquist would surrender a 1-out single in the top of the second, and then the Black Knights’ Tessa Brunner popped out to Emily Melquist at second base, who then fired the ball to Hannah Cross to throw out Ryleigh Lawton for the inning-ending double play. Falconer’s offense would go down 1-2-3 to keep it a 2-0 game after the second.
In the top of the third, Silver Creek’s Mikayla Kelly recorded a 1-out single and promptly took second on a passed ball. She was the only Black Knight runner to make it to second in the entire game.
Falconer would add another run in the bottom of the third after Emily Rhinehart led off with a single and stole a base. Spangenberg was walked, and then Falconer pulled off the double steal to put runners on second and third with one out. Emily Melquist then grounded out to second to bring Rhinehart home and give Falconer a 3-0 lead through three innings.
Hannah Melquist continued to roll into the fifth inning, forcing a groundout and picking up two more strikeouts after surrendering a walk to Briana Spinuzza.
Falconer’s offense then came alive in the fifth as their first six batters all reached base.
Angelina Fiasco started off with a lead-off double. She stole third on the ensuing pitch, and an errant throw into left field allowed her to run to home plate and give Falconer a 4-0 lead. Then came the top of the order for Falconer. Kayla Lynn reached on an infield single, then promptly stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Emily Rhinehart was walked, and she promptly stole second base. Spangenberg then stepped up and hit a triple into right-center field that brought Lynn and Rhinehart home to make it 6-0.
Emily Melquist then followed that up with a double to left-center field to bring Spangenberg home and put the Falcons up 7-0.
Melquist’s performance in the circle certainly will be one to talk about for a while – a complete game shutout recording 11 strikeouts while giving up five hits and two walks while not allowing any baserunners get past second.
Hutchison, despite the loss, also recorded 11 strikeouts, but Falconer’s potent offense ended up taking over the game late to put the game out of reach.
The win moves Falconer to the Class C semifinal on Wednesday at 5 p.m. They will host the winner of No. 4 Randolph and No. 5 Barker.
Falconer Stats: H. Melquist: 7 IP, 11 K, 5 H, 2 BB
Spangenberg: 2-3, Single, Triple, 2 RBI, 2 runs, 2 SB
E. Melquist: 2-3, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, 1 run
Silver Creek Stats:
Hutchison: 6 IP, 11 K, 8 H, 7 R, 2 BB, 2 HBP