JOHNSTOWN - The Johnstown Lady Bills scored seven unanswered runs in the final two innings against Hudson Falls, but their late rally fell short as the Lady Tigers escaped with a 9-7 victory in a Foothills Council softball game at Johnstown High School Wednesday.
The Lady Bills (1-11 overall, 1-9 Foothills) had their work cut out for them after Hudson Falls (6-4 Foothills) sent 11 batters to the plate and pushed across seven runs in the second inning. The Lady Tigers recorded just one hit in the frame, but took advantage of two Johnstown errors and wildness by starting pitcher Danielle Aceto. Aceto walked three and hit one in the inning.
With the bases loaded, Hudson Falls scored their first run when a throw home following a grounder hit the runner. With the bases still juiced, Aceto walked Naesha Kelley and hit Kate LaPan to force in two more. The big blow came when Geneva Strong laced a 2-RBI single to left to push Hudson Falls' lead to 5-0. A throwing error led to the sixth run, and a groundout forced in the final run before Aceto induced a flyout to get out of the inning.
Hudson Falls’ Geneva Strong scores under the tag of Johnstown’s Briana Esposito in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s Foothills Council softball game at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
"We're really trying to work on not letting them score that much," Johnstown head coach Brittany Tomek said. "Our pitching is young and we're taking it in stride. It seems like we've always been having that one inning that we just cannot get back from."
While Aceto and the Johnstown defense would settle into a rhythm, Hudson Falls starter Tanner Barton was dealing. Barton allowed just one hit in the first four innings - a single to Mallory Baldwin in the first.
Johnstown turned their second double play of the game to get out of the third having faced the minimum three batters and Hudson Falls went down quietly in the fourth after stranding a runner. The Lady Tigers threatened in the fifth but Aceto worked out of a bases loaded jam without surrendering a run. Hudson Falls wouldn't be denied for long, however, as back-to-back hits to kick off the sixth helped to pad their lead. Kenna Johnson led off the frame with an infield single before Strong muscled one over Abby Bobbette's head in left. Strong made it all the way around to score after a missed cutoff and gave the Lady Tigers a 9-2 lead.
The Lady Bills finally got to Barton in the home half of the sixth. After the leadoff hitter walked, Briana Esposito ripped an RBI double and advanced to third on the throw home. Baldwin followed with an RBI single. Bobbette struck out but made it to first after the ball was mishandled and Baldwin scored on the play. Finally, Jackie Claburn singled and Bobbette came around to score on a throwing error.
"Our pitcher was letting her defense get defensive plays and it really sparked our offense in the last couple innings," Tomek said.
After Aceto retired Hudson Falls 1-2-3 in the seventh, Ieasha Gonzalez reached on a bunt single to start the bottom of the inning. She came around to score on a series of wild pitches and, after Jordyn Hale walked, Baldwin tallied another RBI knock. She came around to score on a wild pitch later in the inning but Barton bore down and retired two straight to end the game.
"Today it was a little short," said Tomek. "Even though we came out with a loss, I believe we had a competitive game with a good team."
Barton finished with 11 strikeouts for Hudson Falls to pick up the win. Baldwin notched three hits to lead the way for Johnstown as the Lady Bills outhit the Lady Tigers 7-6. Claburn also enjoyed a multi-hit day while Strong and LaPan had two hits apiece for Hudson Falls.
Johnstown's next action will come at home against Scotia-Glenville on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Hudson Falls 9, Johnstown 7
Hudson Falls070 002 0 - 9 6 3
Johnstown000 004 3 - 7 7 4
Barton and Akins; Aceto and Esposito