CICERO — A large rainbow loomed over the damp fields at Gillette Road Park for much of Tuesday’s Section 3 softball championship games.
But gold at the end of it waited for just one of the two teams representing the Frontier League.
Sandy Creek used clutch plays from fraternal twin sisters, Michaela and Kylee Martin, to capture a 2-0 victory over Little Falls in the overall Class C title game.
The Comets advanced to the state quarterfinals for the third straight season and will play Section 4 champion Thomas Edison at 5 p.m. Friday in the same location.
Copenhagen suffered a 3-2 loss to Hamilton in the Class D title game to end the program’s most successful season in the last 32 years.
The games were played at the same time on adjacent fields, and there was a 50-minute delay during the fourth inning of both games because of lightning in the area.
SANDY CREEK 2, LITTLE FALLS 0
Sandy Creek senior catcher Kylee Martin doubled to the gap in left-center field with two outs in the fifth inning to score Peyton Miller from third base and break a scoreless tie.
Sandy Creek, which improved to 17-3, tacked on a run in the sixth when Kylie Hanni laid down a squeeze bunt to score Madison Bush from third.
“I was behind in the count and she had been throwing changeups with two strikes, so I knew it was coming and just waited back and drove it the other way,” Kylee Martin said of her game-winning RBI double.
“It was exciting but we needed more of a rally, we couldn’t have comfort in one run,” she added.
Sandy Creek senior ace Michaela Martin spun a complete game three-hitter with 11 strikeouts to pick up the win.
She also made a pivotal defensive play during a scoreless game in the fourth inning to get the Comets out of a major jam.
Little Falls had the bases loaded with one out and Sydney McCarthy at the plate. McCarthy popped up between the pitching circle and home plate and the ball dropped to the ground, just out of the reach of diving catcher Kylee Martin.
Michaela Martin scooped up the ball and touched home for the force out then fired to third for the inning-ending double play.
Sandy Creek coach Bill Fowler emphatically jumped out of his seat and high-fived his players as they ran to the dugout after the play.
“I wanted to find out whose hand I high-fived so hard, I wasn’t sure who I popped,” Fowler said. “Thank goodness it was (Grace Wallace), who played football.”
Little Falls coach Cristi Paragi said she believed the fourth was going to be the turning point for the Mounties (19-4).
“We came into a base-running situation that, obviously, you don’t want to happen at that point in the game,” Paragi said.
“We hit the ball tonight but their hits were more timely, and at this point, it comes down to the timely hits,” she added.
HAMILTON 3, COPENHAGEN 2
Lauren Weeks hit a bloop single to shallow centerfield with two outs in the fifth inning to drive in Meghan Holcomb from second base, giving the unbeaten and top-seeded Emerald Knights a 3-2 lead that they never relinquished.
Hamilton, the top-ranked team in the state, improved to 17-0 and will play again at 5 p.m. Friday at SUNY Potsdam.
The fifth-seeded Golden Knights ended their season with a 16-4 record. They reached the sectional finals for the first time since 1982 and just the third time in program history.
“It was big for us to get here. … It was really special to everybody, especially the seniors to be able to make it this far in their last year. It’s a good feeling,” Copenhagen junior ace Brooke Spaulding said.
Copenhagen, which went 8-10 last year and lost to Hamilton in the first round of sectionals, won its first Frontier League “D” Division title in six years this season and knocked off unbeaten Class D powerhouse Stockbridge Valley to reach the title game.
“Brianna Muncy came into the gym the first day of practice, threw her glove down and said: ‘We’re winning the league this year,’” Copenhagen coach John Cain said.
“They all bought into that mind-set that we can do anything we put our minds to,” he added. “It got us all the way to this point where we had the number one team in the state on the ropes.”
Brooke Spaulding surrendered four hits and struck out seven in the complete game loss for Copenhagen.
She also hit a grounder up the middle that was misplayed by the Hamilton second basemen to bring in a run and tie the game at two apiece with two outs in the fifth.
“We came ready to play today,” Spaulding said. “When we had batters on base, if we could have batted them around, or if we make that one extra catch or one extra play, it could have really helped us.”