Bullish on base, Southern Cayuga softball wins first matchup of sectionals

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POPLAR RIDGE — Southern Cayuga softball has looked to force its opponents to make plays when its runners get on base, and it showed Thursday.

Doing the bulk of their damage in the first inning that afternoon, No. 7 Southern Cayuga softball defeated No. 10 Seton Catholic, 10-2, in the first round of the Section IV, Class C tournament.

The home team picked up seven stolen bases, and head coach Harold Van Horn likes how his players have gotten more aggressive on the base paths. 

“We work on it in practice quite a bit. And I think they’ve really bought into it now,” he told The Citizen.

“They understand if you’re aggressive, you can score more runs. And that’s what you need to do, you need to force mistakes on the other team’s part.”

Though they were aggressive on the bases, Southern Cayuga players were patient at the plate. Behind walks from Abigail White, Bree Harvatine and Amelia Binns in the first inning, the team put itself in scoring position multiple times. Alan Hilliard, Bristol Hill and Ava Harvatine each added a steal to help their team score six first-inning runs. 

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On the mound, Ava Harvatine allowed four walks over the first two innings, but the Saints were unable to take advantage. 

Samantha Morgan and Hill helped tack on two more runs in the bottom of the second, and Southern Cayuga took an 8-0 lead into the third. 

Ava Harvatine, who has taken on a heavy workload this season, began to waiver in the third as she allowed a leadoff walk that led to the Saints scoring their first run. To prevent Seton Catholic from gaining further momentum, Van Horn called for a pitching change. Sam Morgan did “a great job” in relief, the coach added, which is why “it’s good to have another pitcher in your back pocket.”

“Ava’s been pitching a lot for us,” he said. “She’s been pitching extremely well, but I just didn’t want to take a chance of something going wrong and them having one big inning.”

White gave her team an eight-run lead again in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single that scored Hilliard.

The Saints scored their second and final run in the top of the fifth after a pair of walks put them in scoring position. Morgan pitched 4.2 innings, allowing one earned run. 

For good measure, Bree Harvatine scored Southern Cayuga’s final run in the sixth inning off an RBI single from Hill.

Bree Harvatine racked up three hits, three runs scored and two RBIs on the day. Hill finished with two hits, two RBIs and one run scored. White picked up two hits and scored twice. 

With the first-round win now behind them, Southern Cayuga will next play on the road Tuesday against No. 2 Union Springs in the Section IV, Class C quarterfinals.

The teams matched up twice in the regular season, with the Wolves taking both matchups, but Van Horn believes if his team limits errors they will have a fighting chance. 

“The biggest difference from what we’ve done before is we need to minimize our mistakes. We’ve made way too many mistakes in the previous games.

“If we can minimize the mistakes, I’m confident in our hitting and our base running. I think we’ll do very well.”

Southern Cayuga softball advances to the quarterfinals of the Section IV, Class C tournament after defeating Seton Catholic at home Thursday.


Sports reporter Jacob Urish can be reached at jacob.urish@lee.net or (315) 282-2288.

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