By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
CANAJOHARIE -- Monday's softball affair between the Canajoharie Lady Cougars and the Galway Lady Eagles was not for the faint of heart -- or the defensive-minded.
The two teams combined for 23 runs and 12 errors, as the clubs battled to a 13-10 decision in Canajoharie's favor.
After the victory, Canajoharie head coach Bridget Anderson offered a deep breath, a sigh and an explanation that the game had been a tiring one for her despite her Lady Cougars never trailing after a big first inning.
"That's how they've had me all season, though," said Anderson, with a laugh.
Though both teams are division rivals in the Western Athletic Conference North Division, the game was played as a non-league tilt. Galway (4-11) opened the high-scoring game with a two-run first inning on the strength of Rebekah Reichard's RBI single and Hannah Smith's RBI sacrifice fly, but Canajoharie (4-7) stormed back in its half of the inning.
"We got off to a slow start (defensively), but then we came around. We got some hits and made some plays that we needed to," Anderson said.
Galway pitcher Felicia Snyder had no favors done for her by her defense in the Lady Cougars' seven-run first inning, as the Lady Eagles committed four miscues behind Snyder. In the pivotal frame, Canajoharie catcher Lauren Balfe had two hits, a run scored and an RBI. On the day, Balfe went 3-for-5 at the plate.
"When we're hitting, our defense gets better," said Balfe. "If we hit good, it's usually a good (all-around) game for us."
After a few innings of low-scoring softball, Canajoharie again struck it big in the fourth inning. The Lady Cougars registered five runs in the frame, as Morgan Gray, Shy Logan and Dainara Veeder all recorded RBIs in the inning.
The second big inning for the home team stretched its lead to 12-6, seemingly securing the contest -- but Galway hit back in the sixth inning.
"That's typical for us," said Galway head coach Paula Canell. "We always start kind of slow and, today's game, we started slow defensively with a few errors right at the beginning. But, then, we pulled it together."
With a pair of runners on base and two outs in the frame, Galway center fielder Jesse Uline laced a two-RBI triple. The hit was Uline's second triple of the day off Logan, Canajoharie's pitcher, who had flummoxed the Lady Eagles the first time the teams had played.
"We've [faced] her before and we struggled the first time, so we came into today knowing what we were about to face," Uline said.
"But both the balls I saw were right down the middle," she added. "I just watched them in (to the bat) and I knew [it was a good hit] as soon as I hit it each time, because I felt nothing."
For the game, Uline went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. She also made a running catch in the outfield and doubled up a runner at first base after the catch in the third inning.
Reichard knocked in Uline with a single to cut the Lady Cougars' lead to two runs before Logan finished the side. The Canajoharie windmiller pitched all seven innings in recording the victory, allowing five earned runs.
"We kept popping up today against her," said Canell. "We had a lot of infield pop-ups and ... we weren't able to drive the ball well."
Canajoharie scored a crucial insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning, as shortstop Bri Slater drove an RBI single to left-center field to plate Veeder. The extra run seemed to deflate the Lady Eagles, who did not threaten to score in the seventh inning after Slater's RBI hit.
"That felt good. It was a big relief," said Slater. "We needed that run just for some cushion."
For the game, Slater went 2-for-4 with a walk.