The Lewiston-Porter Lady Lancers softball team began the season with win over Kenmore East. Since then they have gone on a tear through the NFL and on Monday night made history as they once again beat the Lady Bulldogs, 11-6, to clinch the first ever outright Niagara Frontier League title in school history.
Lew-Port ends the regular season 13-1 and will likely end up with the top seed in the Section VI Class A-2 Softball playoffs.
Sophomore pitcher Riley Crum was proud of all the hard work her team put in to get to this moment.
“Everyone has been working hard in practice every day,” Crum said. “We’ve earned this.”
It looked like the Bulldogs were going to escape a scary second inning giving up only one run. Bases loaded, two outs, Ken-East pitcher Sarah Burhans had two strikes on Lew-Port junior Jenna Rhue.
But Rhue was not going to let such an opportunity go to waste. The junior blasted one to right field, getting a double and drove in two runs.
That character and belief has been a driving force for the Lancers this season.
“Our enthusiasm has been key to keep everyone going, whenever somebody makes a mistake someone is always there to pick them up,” Rhue said. “We don’t ever let anybody hang their head.”
Crum followed it up with a two-RBI double of her own. Freshman Maggie Waechter then hit a triple, driving in Crum to give the Lancers the 6-0 lead after two innings and they would never look back.
In the third, junior Emily Caruana was walked and freshman Gabi Vasi hit a single to put two runners on base for Ken-East. Junior captain Lexi Lagattuta hit a single to load the bases. Classmate Serena Sordetto then grounded the ball to second, but the throw to first was off the mark which allowed Caruana and Vasi to come home to put the Bulldogs on the board.
The Lancers kept their composure and came up with a double play as they caught Lagattuta out of position after a getting a ground out at first.
In the fourth, Lew-Port added on to their lead. Rhue brought home sophomore Larissa Reid, after Reid hit triple to start the inning. Later, junior Anna Briganti hit a two-RBI single to give her team a 9-2 lead.
The ability to keep momentum going is something the Lancers know they need to continue as they head into the post-season.
“We have to keep stringing along hits,” Crum said.
Thanks to a defensive error, Burhans was able to get to third on what should have been a single. Caruana drove her in on a single on the very next at bat. Later in the inning, junior Serena Sordetto brought Caruana home to cut the score to 9-4 after five innings.
The Bulldogs finish the regular season 5-10, and are in the middle of the pack of the Class A-2 playoffs. It wasn’t what they hoping for heading into the post-season, but head coach Mike Kluge is happy with where they are.
“As the season winds downs, I think we’ve gotten more consistent,” Kluge said. “That’s going to help us battle in the playoffs.”
Ken-East was looking for a rally as Burhans hit a two-RBI single in the sixth, but Crum recovered with strikeout and groundout to end the inning.
Crum, in her second year on the varsity, has been leading Lew-Port all season and Monday was no different. Crum pitched a complete game for the Lancers. The sophomore had four strikeouts from the bump. She also had success at the plate going 3 for 4 with a walk, scoring two runs and bringing home two more.
The sophomore knows that she wouldn’t have the confidence on the bump, if it weren’t for her teammates behind her.
“The games wouldn’t have been how they were without the defense behind me,” Crum said.