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By Lacey Gardner

With wins over top teams in Pennsylvania, Rochester, Wellsville softball clinches Class B2 top seed


By CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor,

ROCHESTER — A night removed after another challenging fight was deposited into the win column, the Lady Lions would ensure that the momentum continued on into Sectionals for their Class B2 title defense, as they traveled north to visit Bishop Kearney and left town victorious with their final win of the regular season, rolling towards an 11-2 win over the Lady Kings on Saturday.

The Lady Lions (17-1) provided an outstanding performance on all fronts against Bishop Kearney, with eight different batters all recording at least two hits in the midst of the team’s 18-hit barrage. After going up by a 3-1 count through the first three innings of play, the visitors in orange and black continued to add onto their lead to ensure its security, as they went on to score eight of the last nine runs, including a six-run top of the sixth to put it away for good.

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Leading the bats were Brazen Beckwith and Emma Dunaway, both recorded three hits each. Sawyer Burke, Averee Palmatier, Natalie Adams, Makenzie Cowburn and Makenna Dunbar all furthered the team’s cause with two hits. On the mound, the win belonged to Dunbar after a dominant performance, fanning 13 Bishop Kearney batters and walking five.

“Overall we played well today. We swung the bats well against a very good pitcher. I’m looking forward to the playoffs.” said Lady Lions coach Matt Burke.

Wellsville has put a ribbon in their regular season, as they officially laid claim to Class B2’s top seed for a second straight year, finishing with a record of 17-1 overall.

Wellsville 030 116 0 – 11 18 1

Bishop Kearney 001 000 1 – 2 4 2

WLSV – Makenna Dunbar (WP) (CG, 13K, 5BB) and Lindsay Stuck.

BK – Carmella Phalan (LP) (CG, 4K, 2BB) and Alaina Ruffino.

Dunbar’s 1st inning bomb, Cowburn’s magnificent gem propels Wellsville’s ascension in State-ranked win vs. St Mary’s; Whiting fans 12 in B-R softball’s win at C-G/J-T  

WELLSVILLE — The State-ranked battle was on at Historic Tullar Field. In back-to-back days, the Lady Lions of Wellsville will square off against the most formidable of opponents in order to keep the wheels churning heading into their title defense in the Class B2 Tournament.

Up first on a gorgeous Friday night at the park was an opponent that, too, also laid claim to a spot within the Top 5 in the State. That being the St. Mary’s Lady Dutch hailing from down below the border in Pennsylvania — nearly two hours to the southwest of Wellsville, as they entered town as the No. 4 ranked team in the Division AAAA rankings.

Something had to most certainly give between the two powerhouses on the softball field. And after a strong debut to open the night, the Lady Lions were worthy of accepting another difficult challenge presented before them.

Makenna Dunbar was a big reason why.

The Lady Lions sophomore is assembling a season to remember, as she set the tone right away during the team’s opening at-bats in the bottom of the first, launching a three-run detonation that left Tullar Field in an absolute hurry to help set up a game-long lead that Wellsville would never lose to St. Mary’s, as they weaved their way through some late pressure by the Lady Dutch to wrap up a huge 6-2 win in front of a packed crowd.

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“Tonight’s atmosphere was electric. I’m very proud of our team for meeting the challenge,” said Lady Lions coach Matt Burke. “St. Mary’s is a very good team that will go far into the postseason. Makenzie (Cowburn) had a great performance tonight. She was really sharp, she hit her spots and she changed speeds effectively. Makenna Dunbar set the tone for us with her three-run homer, and it’s really nice to face a quality team and play well. Natalie Adams continues to swing a hot bat as well.”

After a quick 1-2-3 on defense led by a lead-off strikeout issued by Makenzie Cowburn and a pair of groundouts fielded cleanly by Emma Dunaway at shortstop, the Lady Lions (16-1) turned their attention to the spot on the field where they have been the strongest all season — the bats. They would provide a pair of baserunners in the first two at-bats, in time for Dunbar to bring both in on her eighth home run of the season. A three-run nuke to deep left field that provided a big crack into the ice.

St. Mary’s would issue what would be their biggest threat behind Cowburn in turn to start the second inning, placing a pair of runners on base after a base hit up the middle into center and a two-out walk, but the Wellsville junior phenom in the circle was able to work her way out of the jam, recording the inning-ending strikeout to keep the Lady Dutch frozen in their tracks.

That would allow the Lady Lions to continue building at the plate with a fielder’s choice from Sawyer Burke to the right side, scoring Natalie Adams, who led off with a deep double into center, from third to extend the team’s lead to four.

Wellsville would finish their scoring in the bottom of the third with two more humongous runs on back-to-back RBIs off the bat of Marissa Ordway and Natalie Adams, as they each scored one of their respective hits into the outfield to claim a 6-0 lead on the Lady Dutch going forward.

The score would remain intact for the next two scoreless innings between both squads until the Lady Dutch cracked through themselves in a run in each of the final two innings of play. But the early deficit to the Lady Lions would wind up being too much to overcome in the end, as the hosts in black took care of business with another signature victory.

Cowburn held St. Mary’s to six hits across her complete game effort, fanning nine and walking two to record the win. At the plate, Adams led the bats with her pair, while Cowburn and Stuck each had a double to further the team’s cause.

St. Mary’s 000 001 1 – 2 6 1

Wellsville 312 000 X – 6 8 2

STM – Shannon Kaiser (LP) (CG, K, 3BB) and Gianna Surra.

WLSV – Makenzie Cowburn (WP) (CG, 9K, 2BB) and Brazen Beckwith.

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