Mackenzie Weber hurled her third shutout of the season on Tuesday afternoon in the sub-regional round of the Region III Softball Championships, helping to lead the fourth-seeded GCC softball team into the regional final four after the Cougars defeated fifth seed Erie CC 5-0.
Weber scattered eight hits over seven shutout innings and battled around baserunners to keep the Kats off the board the entire afternoon.
GCC jumped in front early after Weber escaped a first and third situation in the top of the first inning. Sydney Brenton reached second base after an ECC fielding error to start the bottom of the frame and moved to third after Shiori Ubukata singled. A wild pitch allowed Brenton to touch home and gave the Cougars their first run of the game before Joelle Kaminski, who walked two batters later, got caught in a rundown trying to steal second long enough to get Ubukata to the plate to put Genesee in front 2-0.
The Cougars managed just a single hit in the next three innings, an Ubukata single in the third, but put together four hits in the fifth to extend their lead. Faye Conley sacrificed Amanda Stratton, who singled to begin the bottom of the fifth, into scoring position and after a Brenton single, GCC had runners on the corners. Ubukata then picked up her third single of the game and drove in Stratton to put Genesee on top 3-0. Weber was the next batter and helped her own cause by driving a two-run double into right field that plated Brenton and Ubukata and gave GCC a five run lead.
Weber, who struck out six batters in the game, retired the Kats in order in the sixth and got a ground ball double play after a double and a single in the seventh to close the door and help Genesee to its second regional semifinals in the last three years and third overall.
Ubukata finished the game 3-3, scored twice, drove in one run and had one stolen base. Brenton went 1-3 and scored twice, Stratton was 1-3 with a run scored and Weber's double was her only hit in three tries.
Genesee will play the winner of No. 1 seed Herkimer College and No. 8 Columbia Greene CC in a best-of-three Region A series this Friday and Saturday (if necessary) at host site GCC. Herkimer and Columbia Greene will play its sub-regional game on Wednesday at Herkimer. The Region B series will match the winner of No. 2 Corning CC vs. No. 7 Monroe CC and No. 3 Onondaga CC vs. No. 6 Niagara County CC. The best-of-three Region B series will also be played at GCC on Friday and Saturday (if necessary).