CANTON — The Canton softball team wasn’t able to reach base much on a cold Thursday afternoon in an Northern Athletic Conference Central Division game against Massena.
But when Canton did reach base the Golden Bears relied on speed to score their runs in a 4-1 win over the Red Raiders.
Canton (8-1 overall, 8-0 division) only reached base six times overall, but those runners scored on all but two occasions.
Freshman Tessa Alguire walked all three times she came to bat Thursday.
She started Canton’s offense with a one-out walk in the first inning. She stole second and third base and, on the throw to third base, she scored on an error for the first run of the game.
“It’s really fun and really exhilarating,” Alguire said of the running game. “I think if we just put the ball in play we can get on and steal a lot of bases, because we are a very fast and smart team on the bases. I like getting on base, but walking is pretty frustrating, because I like hitting. But I like the opportunity to get to steal bases and run.”
Sydnee Francis led off the fourth inning for Canton with a bunt single. She stole second and then Alguire followed with a walk.
The duo pulled off a double steal and then both runners scored on a wild pitch to give Canton a 3-0 lead.
“(Coach Mike Wentworth) said from the beginning if we got on base that good things would happen,” Francis said. “We just have to catch them off-guard and use our speed against them, and that’s what we did.”
Francis also made Massena’s defense work by taking big leads on pitches and making the Red Raiders (3-6, 3-4) take care getting the ball back to the pitcher before she could try to steal another base.
“You have to get in their heads and hope they make a mistake so you can get to the next base,” Francis said.
Massena got two runners on base as the Red Raiders were frustrated by Canton’s pitchers Hadley Alguire and Ava Hoy.
Hadley Alguire threw the first five innings and the only batter to reach against her was Massena pitcher Isabelle Wilson, who hit a home run over the right-field fence in the top of the fifth inning.
“Isabelle really stepped in,” Massena coach Susan Macaulay said. “As the year’s gone on she’s become more confident with her pitching and her hitting. I’ve always told her she’s had a lot of foul bombs that she’s hit, but today it stayed fair, which was great.”
Hadley Alguire finished with eight strikeouts.
Hoy entered as a reliever in the sixth and struck out five, allowing only a walk to Lia Page, who reached third before being stranded.
“We really didn’t hit the ball very well at all,” Wentworth said. “We had to create runs and that’s something we’ve done before, played small ball. It’s fun to see those type of games because you have to win different ways.”
Canton’s final run came in the bottom of the sixth when Francis, again leading off, singled.
She stole second, followed by another walk from Tessa Alguire and then scored on a sacrifice bunt from Hadley Alguire.
Wilson enjoyed an effective outing, striking out nine and only allowing the two hits to Francis.
“We made some defensive errors which they capitalized on, but she just was doing her thing,” Macaulay said. “She goes with whatever she’s feeling that given day, some days better than others.”
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