SYRACUSE— The West Canada Valley Indians needed to bring their best in Friday night’s Class D State quarterfinal matchup against unbeaten Heuvelton.
It didn’t happen as the talented Bulldogs pounded out 10 hits and nine runs in the first three innings and took advantage of some fielding mistakes by the Indians in rolling to a 17-4 victory at Carrier Field.
“They hit some holes on us and we got down early” West Canada Valley head coach Ron Lindsay said. “They are a good team and we made some mistakes. We can’t make those against good teams. When you get this far you’re going to play good teams and you have to play at their level.”
Senior pitcher Paige McCormick, a division 1 basketball recruit headed to UMass, struck out 13 in the circle and had three hits at the plate to fuel Heuvelton (19-0). Kristi Donnelly and Emily Streeter also had three hits for the Bulldogs, who advance to play in the New York State Final Four at 11:30 Saturday, June 10 at Moreau Park in Albany.
Heuvelton, ranked No. 2 in the state, now has made it to the final four in three of the past four seasons, but has yet to win the state title.
For West Canada it was a memorable season that saw the team claim its first Section 3 softball title since 1991.
“We came together for our first sectional title in 26 years,” Lindsay said. “That’s a big thing for us. You form a family, form a team, and go out and play. That’s what we did (this season).”
Senior Taylor Zaino reached all four at-bats, including a third-inning single, and then legged out a two-run homer in the seventh inning.
“I ended it on a good note,” Zaino said regarding hitting a home run in her final high school at-bat.
Maggie Burdick also had two hits for the Indians (18-3). Despite not attaining the ultimate goal of winning a state title, West Canada Valley accomplished a lot in 2017. The Indians had fallen short of winning a sectional title in recent years, including an 8-6 loss to LaFargeville in the 2016 final. The Indians avenged that defeat with a resounding 9-1 win Wednesday night to claim the elusive banner.
“We waited all season for this,” said Zaino, who is headed to play for Herkimer County Community College in the fall. “The third time was the charm (winning the sectional title) and it was a great experience. I’m glad I went out this way.”
Courtney DiTata and Kyleigh Gage also had hits for the Indians.
Class D Regional Final
Heuvelton 351 012 5—17
West Canada 000 001 3—4
W: Paige McCormick. L-Jordyn Conte. HR: WCV, Taylor Zaino. 2B: Heuvelton, Megan Woodard.