The Panthers softball nearly ended the season on a dramatic note, coming up just short of pulling off a come-from-behind win in the season finale on Saturday. Playing host to Mohawk Valley Community College, the Panthers lost game one 8-0 before being nipped by a score of 7-6 in game two. Tompkins Cortland ends the season with a record of 1-19 while Mohawk Valley is now 12-12.
Mohawk Valley 8, Tompkins Cortland 0 (5 innings)
Pitcher Brianna Stafford (Dryden/Dryden H.S.) had a nice game in the circle in game one, allowing just four earned runs on six hits over five innings. Four errors hurt the Panthers, leading to four unearned runs and helping Mohawk Valley end the game after five innings due to the run rule.
The biggest problem, however, was the Mohawk Valley pitcher, who came within one pitch of throwing a no-hitter. The Panthers only reached base twice in the game, the first on a dropped pitch on a strikeout, and then on a double by Stafford with two outs in the fifth. The game ended with the 12th strikeout of the game, stranding Stafford on second base.
Mohawk Valley 7, Tompkins Cortland 6
After honoring the team's five sophomores between games, the Panthers gave an inspired effort in game two. Facing the same Mohawk Valley pitcher as game one, the results were quite different. In the second inning, Kimberly Duda (Homer/Homer H.S.) and Emily Aloi (Cortland/Homer H.S.) had back-to-back singles, with Duda coming around to score on a two-out single by Stafford. The early lead was quickly erased when the Hawks put four runs on the board in the bottom of the second and two more in the third. Trailing 6-1 in the sixth, Duda singled with two outs and came all the way around to score on a double by Aloi, cutting the deficit to 6-2. The Hawks took advantage of another Panthers error in the bottom of the inning to get the run back, making the score 7-2 heading to the last inning.
In the seventh, Stafford led off with a hit. After an out, Elizabeth Ripley (Moravia/Home School) drove the ball to the gap for a triple, scoring Stafford. Mackenzie Constable (Sidney/Sidney H.S.) drove Ripley in with a single to make it 7-4, and then moved to second on a single by Paige Graham (Groton/Groton H.S.). With runners at first and second, the second out of the inning came via a strikeout, but Duda followed with a walk to load the bases. Batting with two outs and runners on base for the second straight inning, Aloi came through again, delivering a single that scored two runs, making the score 7-6 and moving the tying run into scoring position. That's where the rally, and the season, ended as the final out was recorded on a strikeout, leaving the Panthers on the short end of the 7-6 score.
Aloi, a sophomore, had a great final game in a Panthers uniform, going 3-for-4 with three RBI. Classmate Stafford was 2-for-3 with a run and RBI. Duda finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored while Ripley, Constable, and Graham each had one hit.