MARCY, N.Y. - There's always plenty at stake when the SUNYIT and Keuka softball teams meet, but on Friday there was a bit extra. Sure, the two teams entered the doubleheader tied at the top of the NEAC North Division (both teams were 11-3 in conference heading into Friday), and had already split earlier in the year at Keuka in a pair of razor-close games.
But the big story on Friday was SUNYIT head coach Jessica Skelton's career record: 99-61.
Skelton, only in her 5th year as SUNYIT softball coach, has taken the team to three NEAC Championsip Finals appearences, and set a school record for wins in 2010 with 29.
Unfortunately for Skelton and the Wildcats it was not to be Friday afternoon, as the Wildcats fell to Keuka 6-1 and 4-2. Luckily for the 'Cats, the team has four more home games this weekend to get Coach Skelton over the hump, beginning with Morrisville on Saturday.
Friday games recap:
GAME 1: Keuka 6, SUNYIT 1
Despite making 6 errors on the game, the Keuka Storm upended SUNYIT 6-1 in game one on Friday. The Storm put three runs on the board in the top of the second inning on a 2-RBI base hit by Haley Jordan, and followed it up with two more runs in the third.
Leading the way for the Storm was shortstop Montana McDonald, who went 1-for-2 with 2 RBI's. Equally important for the Storm in the win was pitcher Danielle Gravel, who went all seven innings for the win.
GAME 2: Keuka 4, SUNYIT 2
Things were looking good for Coach Skelton and her crew early on, as the Wildcats got out to a 2-1 lead through the first three innings. SUNYIT pitcher Fallon Reinold (Holland Patent, N.Y. / Holland Patent) was in control early on, retiring the first 6 batters of the game in order before an Allison Muller RBI put Keuka on the board in the 3rd.
But with one swing of the bat, Keuka was right back in the game. On a 1-0 pitch with one down in the top of the 4th inning, Brooke Lovell took the offering from Reinold deep to left field and gone. The solo shot tied the game at 2-2.
The Storm would follow it up in the field, as second baseman Allison Muller robbed Tiffany Troilo (Rye Brook, N.Y. / Blind Brook) of what looked like a sure leadoff base hit in the bottom of the fourth. Muller dove to her right to snag the one-hop line drive, and threw to first to get Troilo by a step. Avoiding a potential momentum swing with the play, the Storm retired the next two batters in order.
In the top of the 5th the Wildcats responded with a key defensive stop of their own. It looked like the Storm might threaten when leadoff batter Katie Evangelista reachd on an error to start the inning, but Reinold did a great job of getting out of the inning, inducing a popup to strand the Keuka pinch-runner Mariah Gough at second.
Reinold proceeded to help her cause with a leadoff base hit over the Keuka shortstop in the bottom half, but as was an unfortunate theme for SUNYIT on the day, the Wildcats were unable to come up with the timely hitting needed to push Reinold across the plate.
Finally in the top of the 7th Keuka made their move. With a runner on second, Evangelista ripped a no-doubter double down the left field line. The hit scored the go-ahead run for Keuka, and the visitors would add another later in the inning.
Coming on to close was game one starter Danielle Gravel. Gravel retired the first two batters before Krista Pristera (New Hartford, N.Y. / New Hartford) provided the Wildcat faithful with some hope, ripping a 2-out double to the left field wall. It was not to be, however, as Kennedy made the last out for SUNYIT.
The Wildcats will have less than 24 hours to prepare for their next game, as they host Morrisville State on Saturday for another league doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 pm.