By Levi Trimble email@example.com
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Charlotte Miller’s 12-strikeout night wasn’t enough to hold back Grand Island from rallying to beat Kenmore West, 3-2, on Tuesday.
Miller pitched nine innings, allowing only six hits in the extra-inning contest. She also went 3 for 4 at the plate.
“She threw a great game,” said Kenmore West coach Matt Chimera. “We knew it was going to be a close one and it was. We had some opportunities to get it done, but we didn’t.”
Alley Cutting pitched all nine innings and hit a game-tying two-run home run in the top of the sixth for the Lady Vikings (6-5 Niagara Frontier League). The junior only struck out three for the Lady Vikings.
“She has done very will with the support of her team around her,” said Grand Island coach Cheryl O’Connor. “It was a total team effort. It was a hot game and she was working hard through that.”
Grand Island’s Leah Geis hit a lead-off single to start the game. She was moved over by Kelsey Harrigan with a sacrifice bunt. Scarlett Whitman followed after being hit by a pitch.
Miller buckled down after that, getting the next two outs.
Cutting allowed two runners in the first, one on an error and another on a walk. But she calmed herself and got the final two outs.
Miller worked through a jam in the top of the second for Kenmore West (8-3 NFL). Natalie Argy hit a double for the Lady Vikings. Cassie Shickluna followed Argy with a single. Geis reached on a walk to load the bases.
Harrigan then hit a grounder back to Miller who threw the ball to catcher Brianna Christopher. Harrigan ran towards home but was tagged out by Christopher to keep the game scoreless.
The Lady Devils struck first third when Miller reached with a single. She was replaced on the base paths by Destiny Catania.
Kenmore’s Hanna Post drove a deep line drive to the left-center gap. Catania rounded third as the throw came in. Catania jumped to the left, dodging the tag of Grand Island catcher Jenna Neff to make the game 1-0.
Post finished 2 for 3 with an RBI.
“We put the ball in play quite a bit today,” said Chimera. “That was the game plan, get good plays and make things happen.”
Kenmore struck again in the fifth. Miller reached on a 1-out single. Post reached after being hit by Cutting’s pitch. Christopher, in her first at-bat of the game, hit a line drive to left, scoring Miller from second.
Not to be outdone by Miller, Cutting added offense of her own, hitting a two-run, inside-the-park home run deep over the left fielder’s head to tie the game at 2.
“My team needed me, I was in a clutch situation,” said Cutting. “I just sat back, kept my mind clear and did it for the team.”
West threatened in the sixth, getting hits from Grace Ferguson and Lina Mirabella, but could not get the hit that would bring them home.
Argy reached in the seventh for Grand Island on an error. Miller sat down the next three batters, striking out two of them.
West, again, put runners in scoring position in the seventh. Miller hit her third single of the game, followed by Post to put runners on first and second with no outs. Christopher hit a bloop over the short stop’s head, but Miller was caught out of position on the base paths and was thrown out at third.
Cutting drew the next batter into a double play to end the inning.
Miller, playing with her emotions on her sleeve, putched a 1-2-3 eighth to keep the game level.
Cutting responded, only allowing one runner in the eighth.
The Lady Vikings loaded the bases in the ninth. Neff, Argy and Schickluna all reached with one out. Geis hit a grounder to second base, allowing Neff to score what would go on to be the game winning run.
Cutting finished the bottom of the ninth with a 1-2-3 inning to close out the game.
“We were ready to take them down today,” said O’Connor. “It was a revenge match.”
Grand Island returns home to face Kenmore East at 4:45 p.m. today for its senior night. Kenmore West will face off at the same time at home against Lewiston-Porter.
Follow Tonawanda Sports Editor Levi Trimble on Twitter @CLTrimble08 for updates on your local teams.