WNY Athletics

Lancaster Softball ‘On Fire’ After Slow Start to Season

After its first undefeated ECIC I championship in 15 years last season, the Lancaster High School softball team started this season with four early league losses and the hopes of a third straight championship were gone before May.

But the Legends were far from punting on the season. Instead, Lancaster focused on getting better and have things right again.

The Legends have won five in a row heading into Today’s game against undefeated Orchard Park – and are flying high as the postseason looms. .

“We’re getting better each and every day,” said senior co-captain Jenna Patterson, one of the Legends two ace pitchers. “We definitely had a rough start to the season but we’re definitely growing as a team and everyone is getting better.”

Three early walk-off ECIC I losses basically wiped out Lancaster’s hopes of a division title. But the Legends refused to give up on the season and instead focused on the next goals on the agenda.

“It was tough,” coach Kelly Ambrose said. “A lesser team would have gotten down but this team showed a lot of heart, a lot of character and right now, we’re on fire. We easily could have just one loss and I think we’re going to be a dangerous team in the playoffs.”

Lancaster’s 25-game regular season winning streak was snapped by rival Clarence on April 23 – but the Legends got some revenge in style on Tuesday. Lancaster rolled to a 13-0 win over the Red Devils in what Ambrose called the most lopsided Legends win over their neighborhood in her memory.

“It was just a game where everything overall went well,” senior centerfielder Maddy Pepke said. “We came together as a team. We hit well, we got great pitching and the defense backed them up. It was great.”

Through nine games, Pepke – a third-year varsity starter –  led the Legends in average (.576), on-base percentage (.622), hits (19) and stolen bases (4).  Patterson was batting .484 with three home runs and a team-best 16 RBIs.  Senior Olivia Kincanon led the Legends with five home runs and was hitting .529 with 15 RBIs. Is at .391, junior Samantha Martz is batting .355 and senior Erin Colucci is hitting .345.

In the pitching circle, the Legends are led by their “two-headed Jenna.” Patterson has three wins and a 3.00 ERA in 32 2/3 innings with 26 strikeouts. Senior Jenna Bork had two wins and an ERA of 3.23 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 29 innings.

With Patterson battling injuries, both pitchers have basically split every game this season.

“They’ve been just pitching outstanding, keeping teams off balance,” Ambrose said. “And our defense has been outstanding. As long as we have our defense, we know our offense can come through at any time.”

The ECIC I championship may be out of reach, but the Legends have other goals in mind. Lancaster entered the Section VI playoffs as the top seed in Class AA in each of the last two seasons but was eliminated early. This season, the Legends will not enter as a favorite this season but with the recent resurgence, Lancaster will still enter with the goal of bringing home the program’s first sectional title since 2002.

“I think it really matters the most in the playoffs,” Patterson said. “Division titles are awesome, but right now we’re really focused on the playoffs.”


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