By TIM IRVING
Most seasons, Rush-Henrietta and Pittsford Mendon wouldn’t meet in softball.
But, as we all know by now, this is not most seasons. Many Class A1 teams are playing the AA teams this year and the coaches don’t mind.
Pittsford Mendon coach Scott Parsons says “We wanna get ready for Sectionals. We wanna play good teams, make us better.”
That after his Vikings pulled away late to beat Rush-Henrietta 7-2, improving to 12-2 on the year.
Most of the early part of the game was a pitching duel between Rush-Henrietta eighth grader Kaydn Hartel and Mendon senior Lexi Miskey.
The Vikings got the lead-off runner on in each of the first four innings. In the first, Hartel struck out the last two Viking batters and in the second, she struck out the side.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Royal Comets got the first two batters on second and third with no outs before Miskey struck out two and induced a pop up to her catcher Alivia Marciniak to get out of it.
In the top of the fifth, the Vikings got to work with one out. Number nine hitter, LeiLani Hernandez singled, the sophomore’s second hit of the game. Marciniak singled and when Hernandez strayed off third, a pick-off attempt went down the left field line allowing two runs to score.
Abbey Bonino drew a walk and Miskey singled her home for a 3-0 lead.
“We’ve been mixing and matching, trying to lengthen the lineup, “ Parsons said. “So that’s huge for her (Hernandez) to come up with two hits today.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Hartel helped herself out with a double down the left field line scoring Madison Cook and in the sixth, they cut the lead to 3-2 as Sara Duclos hit a pop up between the pitching circle and second base that scored pinch runner Sarah Daley.
In the top of the seventh, the Royal Comets’ defense, which had been solid behind Hartel, came apart. They committed four errors that allowed three runs to score and Emma Giordano singled home a fourth for a 7-2 lead.
The Royal Comets again rallied as Sophia Tirabassi and Emily Sherron led off the inning with singles but Hernandez pulled Hartel’s sinking liner to right off her shoelaces and doubled the runner off first to end the game.
Hartel scattered seven hits and allowed only one earned run while striking out 11 for Rush-Henrietta while Miskey allowed eight hits and struck out nine.
Parson says of Miskey, “She’s been keeping kids off balance, her change-up is a lot better than it’s been in the past. After today, she’s got over 100 strikeouts in less than 50 innings and she’s been a force out there (in the circle).”
With the victory, Mendon keeps pace with the other four teams atop Class A1; Brighton (13-3), Irondequoit (15-2), Bishop Kearney (11-2) and Webster Thomas (11-6). They finish the regular season with the Eagles and defending Class AA Champion Victor.