Weekly Feature

2017-05-18 / Sports

EA softball tops Pioneer for year’s first win

East Aurora’s softball team came up with its best performance of the regular season Friday -- just two games before Section VI playoffs were scheduled to begin -- as the Lady Blue Devils topped Pioneer by an 11-10 count.

The Lady Panthers made things interesting in the top of the seventh, rallying from a 10-3 deficit to knot the score at 10-10. East Aurora, which scored three runs each in the second and third innings on top of the single tallies it produced in the first, fourth and sixth frames, ultimately scored the game-winning run when Pioneer’s third baseman made an error with the bases loaded.

The Lady Blue Devils’ winning run, Alyssa Sebastian, initially got on base after being hit by a pitch.

Madison Dzuilko had a double among her three hits on the day, and also drove in two runs while scoring twice herself. Skylar Moffett and Maeve Foster each had two hits and scored two runs, with Moffett also driving in a run, while Olivia Covington had two hits – including a home run – and scored two runs.

Peyton Bentley, Olivia Carr, Sofia Dzialga (1 run) and Erin Sullivan (1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 run) each had a hit for East Aurora, whose week started off on a much more sour note as it dropped a 23-0 decision to Alden on May 8. Ashlyn Golding and Sullivan were the only ones to get on base for the Lady Blue Devils that day, with each connecting for a single.

East Aurora came back the next day to face City Honors in a non-league double header, and the Lady Centaurs came out on top both times by way of 15-5 and 6-0 decisions.

The Lady Blue Devils battled City Honors to a 4-4 tie in the second inning of the first game, with Bentley and Dziagla each hitting run-scoring doubles in the first inning. Convington and Moffett added run-scoring singles. Covington put the ball in play in the second inning, with the bases loaded, which allowed Dziulko to score off a City Honors error.

Moffett chipped in with a double in the fifth inning, but East Aurora was unable to muster any additional offense the rest of the way.

Hits were even harder to come by in the second game, with Sullivan’s single in the second serving as East Aurora’s only hit for the game.

“We had one strikeout on our side and a lot of hard hit balls, but City Honors had a great defensive game,” coach Felicia Hulslander said. “They also had a good offensive game. Unfortunately for us, after holding them to just two runs through the fourth inning, we had a couple of errors that led to four additional runs coming in for them.”

East Aurora came back on May 10 to put fear in Cheektowaga before ultimately succumbing by an 11-10 count. The Lady Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Sullivan hit a single that scored Dziulko, who had led the game off with a double. Cheektowaga’s leadoff hitter responded with a solo home run, which inspired her teammates to add two additional runs before the end of the first to take a 3-1 lead.

Moffett chipped a run off Cheektowaga’s lead by scoring on a passed ball in the top of the second, but the Lady Warriors got it back – and then some – to take a 7-2 lead into the third inning. East Aurora tacked on two more runs in the third when Sullivan and Covington each scored on passed balls, but the Lady Warriors got one of them back in the bottom of the fourth.

 Both teams added a pair of runs to their tallies in the fifth – Cheektowaga’s came off a two-run home run from its leadoff hitter, while Foster’s double and Moffett’s single drove in runs for East Aurora – and the Lady Blue Devils outscored Cheektowaga by a 3-1 count in the sixth to stay within striking distance, 11-9, heading into the final inning. Two of East Aurora’s runs were scored off passed balls.

East Aurora continued to push for the win in the top of the seventh, with Sullivan’s single scoring Golding, but the Lady Blue Devils couldn’t push any additional runs across home plate.

“Cheektowaga was our best game of the year up to that point because not only did we make it such a close game, but this was also the first showing of the girls coming together as a team,” Hulslander said. “They managed to pick each other up when they had to.”

East Aurora then closed out its regular season Saturday by playing Depew in a doubleheader – and gave the league leaders all they could handle before falling in 2-1 and 1-0 decisions. East Aurora’s only run came in the second inning of the first game, when Foster drove in Moffett. Moffett had reached base by being hit by a pitch. One of Depew’s two runs that game was the result of an East Aurora error.

Dzialga collected East Aurora’s only hit of the second game with a double. Depew’s run, meanwhile, came in the third.

“We finally started to truly look like a team, playing hard against the best team in our division,” Hulslander said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t produce enough at the plate.”

East Aurora finished the regular season with a 1-13 record overall. The Lady Blue Devils were given the ninth seed for the Section VI Class B-1 bracket and began their postseason run with a prequarterfinal-round game at eighth-seeded Albion Tuesday, but information about that contest was not available at press time.

The winner of Tuesday’s game will play at top-seeded Depew this afternoon, with the right to advance to Tuesday’s semifinal round on the line.

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