Softball: Power surge lifts Gators past Ramettes in D-9 opener

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
May 26, 2011

Kyley Mickle settled underneath the towering pop fly, a smile spreading across the Gator shortstop’s face as she waved her teammates back. As the ball landed safely in her glove for the final out of Port Allegany’s 9-4 win over Johnsonburg in Monday’s District 9 softball playoff opener, the on-field celebration began, but Mickle already had Port’s next opponent on her mind.

“I was just like, ‘We’re going to Coudy!’” she said with a grin, looking ahead to Wednesday afternoon’s quarterfinal game against the third-seeded Falcons (12-2) in Coudersport.

First, though, the sixth-seeded Gators (12-6) had to get past visiting No. 11 Johnsonburg. The Ramettes weren’t going back to Elk County without a fight, taking a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning of a back-and-forth game.

That’s when, following a season-long trend of late-game power surges, the Port High bats came alive. Catcher Cora Bova started the rally with a one-out single, then raced all the way home to score the tying run on Mickle’s double to right field. First baseman Rachel Taylor left no doubt on her next swing of the bat, launching a rocket over the centerfield fence to put Port in front for good.

“I knew it was gone when she hit it, because she hit it solid,” coach Dave Morey said of Taylor’s two-run homer, which gave his squad a 5-3 lead.

Johnsonburg would get one back in the top of the sixth, but the Gators answered with a four-spot in the bottom of the inning – highlighted by Mickle’s two-run blast to left, followed by doubles from Taylor and Kris-Ann Raymo – and the Ramettes went down in order in the seventh to end the game.

“They were just so far out in front of that pitcher,” Morey explained. “They finally figured her out and started hitting the ball. Our defense has been good, but we just didn’t hit. Once we started hitting, it was all over.”

Mickle (2-3, HR, 2B, 3 RBI) and Taylor (2-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI) led the way at the plate, with Bova (2-3, RBI), Becky Andrus, and Sarah Brodhun (2-3) also doubling and Becca Lathrop sacrificing in a run. Andrus and Jenny Shelley shared pitching duties for the Gators, while Kiana Myers took the loss for Johnsonburg.

“I thought it was going to hit the fence,” Mickle said of her first career homer, finally reaching a goal she’d set for herself as a freshman. “That’s how it’s been all year – I almost had two of them, but one hit the fence and a girl caught the other one over the fence. This one just kept carrying, and it was out.”

And the timing couldn’t have been any better for Mickle and her fellow seniors.

“This is our first playoff game. We haven’t been here in five or six years,” she said. “To finally get a win … I can’t explain it. It’s just awesome.”

Now, it’s off to Coudy, which swept the season series by scores of 8-3 and 10-0. But the playoffs are a brand-new season, and Mickle believes.

“I think we can do it,” she said. “If we keep playing like we have been, I think we really can do it. They’ve been our rivals in every sport, they always beat us, so it’s nice to get one last shot at them.”

At Port Allegany, May 23:

R H E
Johnsonburg 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 4 2 3
Port Allegany 1 1 0 0 3 4 X 9 11 0

Kiana Myers (1 SO, 2 BB) and Dani Dwyer
Becky Andrus (6 SO, 5 BB), Jenny Shelley (6) (1 BB) and Cora Bova

HR: Taylor (PA), Mickle (PA). 2B: Bova (PA), Mickle (PA), Taylor (PA), Andrus (PA), Brodhun (PA), Raymo (PA), K. Myers (J).

Gator softball on a roll

Lori Chase
May 19, 2011

Early in Port Allegany’s softball game against visiting Sheffield on Monday afternoon, it looked like it was going to be a quiet day for the hometown bats.

Not for long. On the second trip through the lineup, the Gators started figuring out the Wolverines pitching. And once they started hitting they didn’t stop, bashing eight extra-base hits – highlighted by Kris-Ann Raymo’s inside-the-park home run – to rally from a 2-0 deficit for a wild 11-8 win.

“We just moved them up in the box and slowed their bat speed down. They were way out in front of it,” Port coach Dave Morey explained after watching his team win its sixth game in a row to improve to 9-6 on the season. “They’re starting to gel, and playing better. Feels good.”

Raymo (2-4, triple, HR, 3 RBI) and Kyley Mickle (3-4, triple, 3 RBI) powered the Gator attack, with Rachel Taylor (3-4, 1 RBI) adding two triples and Cora Bova drilling a double off the right-field fence on the fly. Becky Andrus and Jenny Shelley shared pitching duties for Port, with Andrus picking up the win.

Port’s winning streak began with a sweep against Oswayo Valley, but the real eye-opener came in a 9-4 victory over Otto-Eldred on Friday.

“We’d lost to them twice already, and that really helped turn things around,” Morey said.

The Gators followed that game up with another doubleheader sweep on Saturday, coming back to win both games against Northern Potter, before doing the same to Sheffield.

“The girls have been working really hard and hustling. That’s the key to it, really,” Morey said. “And they’re starting to believe they can win. That’s been our big problem; they’ve never believed in themselves, that they could actually do it. Now, they believe, and it’s happening.”

Gator baseball/softball: still stuck in the swamp

Lori Chase
April 28, 2011

Weather woes continued to plague area high school baseball and softball teams last week, and Port Allegany was no exception. While the Lady Gators managed to get in games against Smethport and Otto-Eldred, their counterparts on the baseball diamond have played just six innings – in a suspended contest against Cameron County – since April 16.

On Wednesday, Smethport piled up seven runs in the top of the first inning, and Logan Akers hurled a eight-strikeout, two-hit gem in the Lady Hubs’ 12-1 softball win.

“It’s hard to come back against a good team like Smethport,” Port coach Dave Morey said. “We didn’t give up, but when you dig a hole like that, and against a dominant pitcher …”

Cora Bova singled in the bottom of the first, then scored the Gators’ only run on a fourth-inning double by Kris-Ann Raymo. Jenny Shelley (2 SO, 6 BB) and Kira Nolder shared pitching duties for Port, which dropped to 1-3 following the next night’s 6-3 loss at Otto-Eldred.

Eleven days after their last game, a 5-4 decision over Johnsonburg, the Gator baseball team’s record remains at 2-1. Both teams are off for the remainder of this week; weather permitting – a common refrain in this washed-out season – they’ll resume playing on May 2, when the Northern Potter baseball and Kane softball teams are slated to visit Port Allegany.

At Port Allegany, Apr. 20:
Smethport 7 1 1 3 0 – 12
Port Allegany 0 0 0 1 0 – 1

Softball: Gators 1-1 after first week

The Port Allegany softball team wasn’t expecting to face defending league champ Coudersport in their first game of the season. But after weather woes washed out the beginning of the schedule, there they were, stepping to the plate against the Falcons just a day after finally getting outside to practice on their home field for the first time.

Coudy plated four runs in the top of the second inning, then held on for an 8-3 victory last Tuesday afternoon. But unlike some previous games against one of District 9’s best teams, the Gator girls were in this one until the end. Rachel Taylor scored the first run of the season on Kris-Ann Raymo’s stand-up double in the sixth, and Port pushed across two more in the bottom of the seventh on Kyley Mickle’s bases-loaded sac fly and a sharp single by Sarah Brodhun off the second-baseman’s glove before the game ended on a play at the plate.

“The second inning was where we lost it .. that basically was the game right there,” new head coach Dave Morey said. “We had that one bad inning, but other than that, the girls played well. They didn’t give up, and I was pleased with their effort.

“We just made some bad mistakes at crucial times, that’s all. But overall, I think the girls played well for their first night out playing a game; it was cold, and this was the first time everybody got a chance to work together. And we’re a young team. We’ve got three seniors and two juniors; everybody else is sophomores and freshmen, so you’re going to expect mistakes until they get better.”

In their only non-postponed game since then, Morey’s squad visited Bradford on Friday afternoon, rebounding to shut out the Lady Owls 5-0. Raymo doubled twice to lead the Gator offense, with Mickle adding two hits and scoring a run, and Becky Andrus pitched a four-hit, three-strikeout complete game to earn the win.

Weather permitting, the Gators (1-1) were scheduled to host Smethport on Wednesday, then make up their postponed game at Otto-Eldred on Thursday before shutting down for the Easter break.

At Port Allegany, Apr. 12:
Coudy 1 4 0 0 0 1 2 – 8
Port A 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 – 3

Whitman (1 SO, 2 BB) and Gerner
Andrus/Shelley (2 SO, 4 BB combined) and Bova

5/13 PAHS roundup

Baseball: Gators edge Kane in extra-inning thriller

As Port Allegany designated hitter Ryan Bodamer strode to the plate to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning, the Gators trailed Kane by a run and were staring squarely at the end of a modest two-game winning streak.

Three swings of the bat – well, two swings and a bunt – changed that in a hurry last Thursday afternoon. Bodamer worked the count full against Wolves reliever Logan Depto, then ripped a double to left field on the payoff pitch. Younger brother Matt followed by driving the next pitch deep to center, taking second as Ryan deftly avoided a desperate tag attempt to plate the tying run. And when the throw to first base on Charlie Buchanan’s bunt missed its mark, Matt came around from second to end the Gators’ wild 10-9 extra-inning victory as his teammates poured out of the dugout to celebrate.

“I was going to give Matt a swing and then get a bunt down,” Port coach Nate Zitnik explained. “Playing for two; I didn’t necessarily want to play for a tie and keep this game going. I wanted to give Matt a chance to swing the bat. After playing through a long varsity season, he knows how to handle pressure, and he came through huge. He traded places with Ryan, and Charlie executed (on the bunt).” Continue reading “5/13 PAHS roundup”

PAHS softball season winding down

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
May 14, 2009

As the name of the sport suggests, pitching is a critical part of the game in high school fast-pitch softball, and Port Allegany coach Dave Roae thought sophomore Sarah Brodhun could fill that role for his team this season. So, when Brodhun was lost for the year with a shoulder injury, it dealt a huge blow to the Gators’ goal of finishing .500.

“That was definitely a big blow to us … that definitely hurt,” Roae said. “Amarae (Reinard) and Becky (Andrus) have come in and done a good job for us, but it’s still a step down from Sarah to anyone else.”

The Gators dropped a trio of games last week, then faced undefeated Coudersport on Monday. The Falcons have overwhelmed teams all season,and did the same at the Port field, chalking up a 16-0, four-inning win to run their record to 18-0. Cora Bova collected the Gators’ only hit, a second-inning single, and also went 2-3 with a triple in last week’s game against Cameron County.

Roae admits it’s difficult to keep his young squad positive at times, but thinks the game time they’re getting this year will eventually pay off.

“It was a very young team, with one senior starting. That lack of experience shows up out there,” he said. “But we’ve got almost a whole year under our belts, so next year, I can basically put the same team out there. And hopefully Sarah’s back and ready to go for next year.”

Seniors Shelby Gleason and Brittany Freer were honored in a ceremony following the Coudersport game. The Gators, now 3-12, finish their season on the road this week, with a doubleheader at Smethport on Wednesday and the season finale at Johnsonburg on Thursday.

PAHS Softball: Double trouble for Austin

Lori Chase
Port Allegany Reporter Argus
May 7, 2009

At the beginning of last week, Gators softball coach Dave Roae said, “If we keep playing defense like this, and the sticks start working, we’re going to be all right.”

They were all right – and then some – on Thursday night against Austin. Brittany Drabert cracked a triple and Shanel Halle (2), Kris-Ann Raymo, Kaitlyn Kio, and Renee Edgell all added doubles in the opening game of a doubleheader against the Panthers, as the Gators held off a late-inning rally to eke out a 12-11 win.

The number 2 also played a significant role in the second game, with Amarae Reinard taking the mound and allowing just a pair of hits to Austin batters as Port swept the twinbill with a 16-1 victory. The junior pitcher helped her own cause with a double and a triple at the plate, a feat matched by Raymo, the hard-hitting freshman.

Entering the week with a 3-8 record, the Gators faced a busy four-games-in-five-nights schedule as the season entered the home stretch. Home games against Kane and Cameron County were followed by a trip to Oswayo Valley on Thursday afternoon, with the team returning to the field on Edison Bates Drive to face Sheffield at 4:15 p.m. Friday.