CHATHAM–Arguably the two top softball teams in the Patroon Conference opened their league schedules against each other Tuesday and Wednesday of last week as Chatham hosted and defeated Taconic Hills 2-0 in game one, before going on the road and topping the Titans 8-1 Wednesday. The two early season wins put the Panthers in great shape, while the Titans will now have to hope Chatham slips up somewhere along the way.
On Tuesday Kayla Doty racked up 11 strikeouts to shut down Taconic Hills, while Kaitlin Pearson racked up three hits and Karsyn Sawyer slugged a home run in the 2-0 win. Nicole Torchia and Hannah Sears shared pitching duties for the Titans in the loss, as Michelle Link and Michelle Kostszewski each tallied two hits.
Wednesday in Craryville the Panther bats came alive as they pounded out the 8-1 win. The game was a defensive battle through the opening three innings, but Chatham got things going in the top half of the fourth. With one out Caitlin Gilligan hit an infield single and Pearson followed that up with a single of her own. After an infield pop out Alli Messick hit an RBI single that scored Gilligan for a 1-0 advantage. Sawyer stepped to the plate next and blasted a shot to left field that cleared the left fielder’s head and rolled allowing Sawyer to come all the way around for a 3 RBI home run and a 4-0 Chatham lead.
Chatham would add another run in the fifth as Mikayla Smith singled and moved to second on a single by Karlee Shields. With the back-to-back singles, Sears came out of the game for the Titans and Torchia took the mound. Pearson tallied her second hit of the game scoring Smith and extending the Chatham to lead to five after five. In the top of the sixth things got even better for the Panthers as Messick led off with a double and moved to third on an infield bunt single by Sawyer, who moved to second on defensive indifference. Courtney Messick flied out to left field, but scored Alli Messick on a throwing error. Smith walked to put two runners on before Pearson drove in two with a single.
In the bottom of the sixth Alicia Kostszewski reached on a throwing error with one out and was driven in by a two-out single by Alexis McComb, but the Titans were unable to put another run across the plate.
Doty again racked up 11 strikeouts on the mound for Chatham, while allowing just one run on four hits and a walk. Sears went 4 1/3 + for the Titans, giving up five runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out three. Torchia came on in relief and pitched 2 2/3 innings giving up one run on four hits and a walk while striking out one. At the plate for Chatham, Sawyer went 3-4 with 2 singles, a home run, 3 RBI and 2 runs while Shields also went 3-4, having three singles and 2 RBI. Pearson and Alli Messick each picked up a pair of hits, with Messick scoring twice and driving in one and Pearson adding a run. Doty, Smith and Gilligan each added a run.
For the Titans Alicia Kostszewski scored the Titans only run, while McComb had a hit and an RBI. Michelle Kostszewski, Janine Ham and Kylle Proper each tallied a single in the loss.