Williams hits walk-off as softball bests Keuka

The Geneseo softball team put an end to a five-game skid this past week, winning its final three games, including a sweep of Keuka College.

The Knights started off slowly, getting swept by the University of Rochester on April 7. Senior Janine Montera returned from injury to pitch the first game, allowing six hits, three earned runs, and four walks, while striking out three as Geneseo lost, 1-4. The lone Geneseo run came off the bat of senior Megan Pogemiller who blasted a solo home run in the fifth inning.

In the second contest Rochester jumped all over sophomore starter Katie Gallagher, scoring five runs in the initial four innings. Freshman Patty Callahan provided 2 2/3 innings of solid relief, allowing one hit while striking out four as the Knights saw their comeback fall just short, losing, 3-5.

"I tell them to just go out and play and don't think about things," said head coach Tony Ciccarello. "Just go out and play and things will start happening … We have to be smart about what we do."

Geneseo didn't fare much better in the Saturday opener against SUNY Brockport, letting a 1-0 lead slip away in the sixth only to see it disappear completely in the seventh on an RBI triple that fell just out of the reach of a diving Callahan in right field.

"She makes the catch and she's the hero, but I also don't look back on that one play … A year ago she's pitching in high school and now she's playing right field for a Division III college," Ciccarello said of Callahan. "It's a big difference, but she really has stepped up and won the job."

Saturday's opening loss was Geneseo's fifth one-run loss of the season and dropped the team to 5-10 on the season and 0-3 in conference play.

"Sometimes you sting the ball really hard and they catch it and then you get that little garbage hit; it's all a part of the game," said Ciccarello. "I'm not a big excuse person. We have to make our own breaks."

Geneseo's season of tough breaks seemed to turn around in the second game as the Knights responded with a much-needed 4-2 victory.

"They showed a lot of determination to come back and win that second game," Ciccarello said. "That was big for us because if not we would have been 0-4 in the conference."

Sophomore Janeanne LePage had a key two-run single in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Gallagher allowed only eight hits and one earned run in 5 1/3 innings. After logging a complete game in the opener, Montera came in to get the save, pitching 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

"[Montera] will be ready to go all the time. It's her senior year and she's fine with it," Ciccarello said. "The days of icing her and shutting her down after her first game are over. She has four weeks left in her career … she came and talked to me earlier in the week and she wants to be in that situation if need be."

On Tuesday, Geneseo continued to roll, sweeping Keuka, 9-3 and 12-10 in the first and second games, respectively. In the second game, the Knights seemed to put their season-long streak of foul luck completely behind them, orchestrating an exciting come-from-behind victory of their own. In the bottom of the seventh inning, down 10-6, the Knights exploded for six runs including a two-out, two-run walk-off home run by sophomore Lexi Williams.

In that six-run seventh Geneseo finally demonstrated the balance that coach Ciccarello had talked about since coming back from the team's spring break trip to Florida.

"We're not a superstar team … we're not living and dying on two or three batters. Our lineup is a lot deeper," he said.  "Coaches have a tendency to stretch the truth but I'm not lying to you. Our seven, eight and nine hitters might be up in the middle of the order or top of the order [on other teams]."

The Knights are now 8-10 overall and look to continue their hot streak with a series against Nazareth College on April 14 at 3 p.m., and then host a weekend of important conference games against SUNY Cortland and SUNY Oswego on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

"We have our destiny in our own hands. That's why this weekend is so huge," said Ciccarello. "All it takes is a split on Friday and a sweep on Saturday that puts us at 4-4 [in conference] and we're right there."