The umpire expressed his surprise that the visitors, in a sectional semifinal, had just one win.
Matt Finn agreed with the sentiment.
On May 28, the Ellicottville softball coach witnessed firsthand just how much of a mirage Cassadaga Valley’s record had been.
Hannah Edwards hit a key two-run home run and Kristen DeBicki (8 strikeouts, 2 walks) surrendered just four hits in leading the now 2-15 Cougars into a sectional championship with a 6-2 Class C-2 semifinal victory.
Cassadaga Valley went 0-15 in the regular season and earned the lowest seed (No. 8) in the C-2 bracket before topping No. 1 Frewsburg, 3-2, in the quarterfinals and No. 5 Ellicottville in the semis.
It was conditioned to this level of competition, having played two league games against a trio of teams now playing for sectional titles — Chautauqua Lake (Class C-1), Fredonia (B-2) and Dunkirk (B-1) — a pair against a Falconer team that was ousted in the C-1 semis, one against the top-seeded Frewsburg team it had just knocked off and two non-league contests against Maple Grove, which it will meet again in the C-2 championship game.
“They’re in just a brutal league over there,” Finn acknowledged. “Almost everyone (in it) is still alive.”
Brittyn LeBaron went 2-for-3 and gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead with an early solo shot before Edwards made it 3-0 in the third. DeBicki retired the first nine Ellicottville batters by either strikeout or her own putout.
Linnea Jimerson had two hits and Courtney Sexton tripled and scored a run for the Eagles (6-12), who pulled to within 4-2 in the fourth, but could get no closer. Sexton (7 strikeouts, 2 walks) also surrendered just four hits before having to leave the game in the sixth inning after she injured her foot while sliding into the Cougars catcher at home plate.
“(The CV home runs) were definitely key,” Finn said. “That two-run shot was just rough. It was a 1-0 game, and we’re right there, then all of a sudden it’s 3-0. We didn’t get to DeBicki until the fourth, then we realized we can play a little bit. We pull to within 4-2, then she shut us down again after that.”
Ellicottville 9, Holland 6
Courtney Sexton collected two hits and also earned the win to lead Ellicottville to a narrow upset on Friday in the Section 6 Class C-2 softball quarterfinals in Holland.
Sexton scattered 11 hits and struck out seven with no walks for the fifth-seeded Eagles, who will meet No. 8 Cassadaga Valley (1-15) in Tuesday’s semifinals. Madison Perry allowed seven hits and five walks and Megan Armbrust had three hits for No. 4 Holland (4-11-1).