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Farewell game for high school seniors

East All-Stars defeat West, 5-4

June 15, 2017
By ANDREW DAVID KUCZKOWSKI - , Westfield Republican

DUNKIRK - All season long, teams compete in their leagues to fight for a top seed in the playoffs. However, Monday night had a much different vibe.

In the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association All-Star game at Prommenschenkle Stadium, All-Stars in the East and West leagues joined sides to face off in an exhibition matchup.

In a 5-4 nine-inning bout, the East All-Stars defeated the West as local seniors played their final game of high school softball.

Article Photos

Submitted Photo
Pictured are the 2017 CCAA West All-Stars. In front are: Megan Lanphere (Cassadaga Valley), Alexia Ruiz (Cassadaga Valley), Madison Abbey-Mott (Westfield), Kaleigh Milliman (Westfield), Carley Pawlak (Silver Creek), Claire Castiglia (Silver Creek) and Kayla Spacht (Sherman). In the back: Alyssa Hahn (Cassadaga Valley), Mekenna Leid (Fredonia), Dariann Russo (Silver Creek), Lakin Gustafson (Chautauqua Lake), Mary Nickerson (Maple Grove), Allison Cummings (Chautauqua Lake) and Brittany Fardink (Chautauqua Lake). Missing are: Caitlyn Cybart (Fredonia), Hannah Cybart (Fredonia), Andrea Smith (Fredonia), Katie Webster (Fredonia), Alyssa Watts (Cassadaga Valley) and Ivee Pagels (Silver Creek).

Fredonia's Mekenna Leid kicked off the first inning with a one-out triple and scored later off a wild pitch to put the West up, 1-0.

In the bottom half of the second, the East All-Stars got momentum with runners on second and third and Cattaraugus-Little Valley's Katie Jones up to bat. Jones blooped a single into rightfield to score two and go up, 2-1. After a catcher's pickoff attempt, Jones sprinted around the bases to score herself and get a two-run lead, 3-1.

The West All-Stars waited until the sixth inning to answer, in which the back-and-forth scoring began.

The West exploded with a three-run top half of the sixth and the East responded shortly after.

The East All-Star's Kaitlyn Blanchard, of Frewsburg, started the bottom half with a single up the middle. After key base running, Blanchard took home plate off an error, then Salamanca's Emma Isaac hit an RBI single to take the lead again, 5-4.

In the top of the seventh, East's pitcher Sydney Burk, of Southwestern, had the play of the game.

With one out and runners on first and third, West's Madison Abbey-Mott, of Westfield, bunted.

Burk grabbed the well-executed bunt, faked a throw to first and turned around to put the third base runner in a pickle. The runner was ruled out and no runs were scored.

Burk finished the game and let up no more runs for West, as the game ended, 5-4.

"The tenacity of some of these players and being able to execute what you ask them to do and their willingness to do it, which is fun," Chautauqua Lake coach and West All-Stars coach Susan Teets said. "And there's no pressure. The hardest part is knowing, 'Hey, we don't have any signals; just bunt it. You guys know situations.'

"I just think it's a great time for these kids to get together because for seasons they've played against each other and now you get to be friends."

One unique component of the All-Star game is that the teams are made up of those who the players face during the year. However, on June 12, opponents turned into uncommon teammates.

"It was just so nice that everyone was coming together because obviously - you're competing when you're playing them as another team," Fredonia's Leid said. "Just to become friends in the dugout and just be teammates is great."

Leid was honored after the game with a silver bat as she was the West's MVP of the game. Starting pitcher for the East, Burk, was given a silver bat as well as she was the East's MVP.

"Well, I have honestly really enjoyed playing with all these girls," Burk said. "I've played with all of them at some point in my high school career. It's bittersweet. Like, we all get to move on and go to college. Some of us are playing, some of us aren't. I am glad I could end my high school career playing with all of these seniors."



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