LEWISTON, NY – – The Depew Wildcats had to overcome an early deficit against the Eden Raiders on Friday afternoon, but their perseverance – led by timely hits – enabled the Wildcats to stun the 2015 Class B State Champion Raiders in extra innings, 7-6, at Niagara Wheatfield High School.
Eden gained an early 2-0 lead due to a fielding error and a sacrifice fly that scored the Raiders’ first runs of the game. In the 2nd inning, freshman Mattie Woodard drove home another Eden run on an opposite field RBI triple. Following the RBI triple, another throwing error gave the Raiders a much larger cushion, 4-0. Depew starter Karsen Cotton forced the Raiders to get two early outs in the 3rd inning but Eden senior Erica Cross knocked home the Raiders’ fifth unanswered run to go up 5-0 after three stanzas.
“After the second or third inning you could feel that we were deflated,” Depew head coach Dan Seelig said following the game. “I did say to [our girls], you’ve got two ways you can go, you can feel sorry for yourself or we can compete.”
Seelig’s pep talk ended up working for Depew as the Wildcats roared back from their 5-0 deficit in the 5th inning which was all started by Cotton, who helped her own cause in the circle, with an RBI single with the bases loaded with no outs. Following Cotton’s RBI single, Abby Tomasik hit a 2-RBI single that cut Eden’s lead to two. Following Tomasik’s clutch hit, Annie DiPirro hit a 2-RBI double that tied the game up, 5-5.
“Right now, I am through the roof with confidence in them,” Cotton said about her team’s offensive success in the 5th inning and in games past. “I know they can come through with a hit when we need it, or come through with a bunt or anything we need I know they can do it. Just like they did today, five runs in an inning, that was big for us.”
After a solid inning in the circle from Cotton, the Wildcats scored their sixth unanswered run in the 6th inning off an Eden throwing error, enabling Depew to need three outs to win the Section VI Class B Crossover game. However, Eden had other things on their mind. With runners at 2nd and 1st following an intentional walk of Eden’s powerful Haley Kobie, Paiton Basinski grounded out that enabled both runners to advance one base. The first pitch to next batter got passed the Depew catcher scoring the tying run and making it a 6-6 game in the top of the 7th.
In the 8th inning, Abby Nicometi played hero for the second consecutive playoff game as she drove home the game-winning run, partially due to a fielding error by Eden that helped Depew score the winning run.
Hidden behind the loss, fifth year Varsity pitcher Jill Murray pitched a phenomenal game. Her changeup in the middle stages of the game was the achilles heel for Depew’s hitters, but they overcame her stellar pitching that has come in her five years with the Eden softball program.
Depew will face Section V Class B champion, Bath-Haverling, following their 8-4 win over LeRoy earlier this evening. The Far West Regional game will also be played at Niagara Wheatfield next Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 pm. The winner will advance the Final Four which will be played at Moreau Park in South Glens Falls, New York, on Saturday, June 11.
“I never went to Regionals,” Cotton said about the opportunity ahead. “I’ve been on the team since I was in 7th grade, and I’m a junior now, I think this is a huge opportunity and I want to win so bad. I’ve never went this far with another team.”