The battle for Long Island is now officially on.
Section V Class D overall champion Friendship/Scio will play in the Far West Regionals on Friday against Westfield. It is a rematch of the game last year, a 4-0 Friendship-Scio victory.
Both teams have their starting pitchers back. Westfield’s pitcher, Haleigh Dellow is committed to play at Division I George Mason. Westfield graduated just one starter from last year and went 20-1 this year.
In the Section VI championship game, Dellow threw a perfect game into the sixth and finished a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts as Westfield beat Sherman-Clymer, 4-0, as Sherman-Clymer finished the season 12-6. Dellow also had two doubles in the game.
The two teams will face-off at Gowanda High on Friday at 7 p.m.
Friendship-Scio may have some extra fans. At 5 p.m. in Gowanda, Bolivar-Richburg, the Section V Class C champion, takes on Gowanda, the Section VI Class C champion with a trip to Long Island on the line.
While Dellow has earned player of the year awards, Friendship-Scio also has Nevaeh Ross on the mound once again. Ross recently struck out her 1000th career batter.
Here’s the Chris Brooks report on the incredible victories by Friendship-Scio this week with photos by Tricia Davenport:
Class D State Qualifier Photos by Tricia Davenport, story by Chris Brooks follows, the Section V title game gallery:
It was Friendship/Scio’s turn to carve their path.
The Class D2 three-peats were looking to move one step forward to going back to where their season ended last year — Long Island. Two more stepping stones were needed to get back there, with the first beginning in a battle for Class D supremacy against one of their toughest challenges of the season to date — Class D1 champion Notre Dame-Batavia.
The Lady Irish brought everything to the table in Fillmore. Their bats, their defense, outstanding pitching. Everything they used to ride the tidal wave through the Class D1 field to come away as champions as the No. 4 seed. But one thing that stood in their way, perhaps one of the best pitchers in all of Section V: Nevaeh Ross.
Ross went toe-to-toe with Notre Dame-Batavia’s Loretta Sorochty for much of the battle from start to finish, as both aces handed out chairs left and right until there were no more to give. In a battle such as this, the runs would come at the rarest of minimums.
Fortunately enough for Friendship/Scio, luck was on their side.
While Ross capitalized from within the circle on all fronts, she helped provide a solid stand of offense to begin the night as the game’s ice breaker. The Class D2 queens would keep holding onto their one-run lead all the way to their final at-bats, where much needed insurance came across the plate to cushion their lead. From there, it rested upon the shoulders of their elite phenom, as she finished off a one-hit twirl of the Lady Irish to book their trip back to the Far West Regional with a 3-0 shutout to become Section V, Class D champions outright.
A 1-0 lead by Friendship/Scio (19-3) was garnered right out of the gate against Notre Dame-Batavia by Ross, who led off with a drive to left before working all the way around the bases before Morghyn Ross provided the connection that brought her in, dropping a shot down the right field line to send the dugout erupting upon scoring the game-opening run.
The lead was left intact across the next five innings of play, as Ross dealt alongside Sorochty, recording 10 strikeouts in her first 13 batters to keep the Lady Irish at a complete standstill. The two pitchers would combine for 27 strikeouts amongst themselves, with Ross dealing 16 while Sorochty scavenged the remaining 11. Because of the duel, the pace was rapid, as the game reached the sixth inning in just over an hour’s worth of game time.
With time running out to make a move on Friendship/Scio, Notre Dame-Batavia resorted to using small ball once more in the top half of the sixth. While a runner occupied second base, an attempted bunt went straight into the air next to Morghyn Ross and the plate where she caught it, and then fired straight down to Logan Roberts at second to double-off the game-tying run to end the inning in style with a 2-4 double play.
After a play of such magnitude, the momentum that was built, was ultimately maintained by Friendship/Scio as they finally created a massive breakthrough in the bottom half of the frame. Insurance was had with two runners on base, with Kiara Grover providing it on a bunt-turned-line drive straight off a Notre Dame-Batavia glove and into the dirt near third base, which would allow Morghyn Ross to score.
To finish out the frame, a pinch-hit RBI single into the infield at third from Kadence Sadler pushed Friendship/Scio’s lead to three, as the Lady Irish hurried to make a play to catch another run scoring, but the defense was left in neutral, as Sadler came away with the RBI single to help pick up a 3-0 lead going into the seventh.
From that point on, it was all Nevaeh Ross. After a lead off single, the phenom would hand out her 14th, 15th and 16th chairs immediately following to close out the game, sealing Friendship/Scio’s return trip to the Far West Regional this weekend in one-hit fashion.
Friendship/Scio 100 002 X – 3 4 1
ND-B – Loretta Sorochty (LP) (CG, 11K, 3BB) and Sonji Warner.
F/S – Nevaeh Ross (WP) (CG, 16K, 2BB) and Morghyn Ross
Photos by Chris Brooks and Tricia Davenport, story by Chris Brooks after photos of the Section V title game:
Class D2 Finals
No. 1 Friendship/Scio 13, No. 3 C.G. Finney 0
FILLMORE — Ever since their loss to Bolivar-Richburg back in mid-April, Friendship/Scio has been a wagon. The defending back-to-back Class D2 champions went on to dock 11 straight wins into the column, allowing them to keep their foot down on the gas pedal all the way through Sectionals and back to the Finals once again on Saturday.
After earning an automatic berth into the Semifinals as the No. 1 seed, they would need to hurdle over one more stepping stone to get back to that coveted Section V stage once again. The No. 3 Lady Falcons of C.G. Finney were standing in their way between them and a third straight championship.
But the two main ingredients to a winning recipe for overwhelming success proved paramount for Friendship/Scio like it has all season long.
Nevaeh Ross. The offense.
The perfect harmony.
Friendship/Scio was able to ward off C.G. Finney through an early defensive battle in the beginning stages with an offensive breakthrough in the bottom of the third, scoring five humongous runs to set the tone against the Lady Falcons while the junior phenom in the circle held them in check in return, as she handed out 15 chairs and walked just one to toss a two-hit shutout, propelling the team towards a third consecutive Class D2 championship with a 13-0 blank in Fillmore.
The Friendship/Scio (18-3) bats emerged energized, as they unleashed a 17-hit barrage against the Lady Falcons as a whole. Individually, Morghyn Ross and Kiara Grover had two outings of epic proportions to allow them to hit all strides, with Ross going 5-for-5 with a double and three runs scored, while Grover got the scoring started in the bottom of the third, blasting a two-run shot from within the team’s five run frame to set the tone immediately against C.G. Finney.
Grover’s home run would be one of three hits within a 3-for-5 outing at the plate.
The momentum shifted forward into the fourth, where Friendship/Scio continued to pile on the runs, adding six more into the fray off multiple hits from the offense once again, never looking back from that point on as they coasted towards their third straight title.
In all, five different Friendship/Scio hitters all recorded at least two hits, with Logan Roberts helping further the cause with a 3-for-4 outing that included a double. Kadence Donohue chipped in with an RBI double in the bottom of the third to record two hits in tota, scoring three times. Nevaeh Ross had two hits of her own including a double, and two RBI.
The next stop for Friendship/Scio is the Class D State Qualifier right back in Fillmore Tuesday night, as they get set to square off with Class D1 champion Notre Dame-Batavia in a 5 p.m. first pitch.
C.G. Finney 000 000 0 – 0 2 1
Friendship/Scio 005 620 X – 13 17 0
FIN – Amelia Piecki (LP) (CG, 3K, 4BB) and Kiley Knittle.
F/S – Nevaeh Ross (WP) (CG, 15K, BB) and Morghyn Ross.