COLONIE Behind pitcher Kelly Lane and some timely hits, the Colonie softball team defeated Bethlehem 8-4 in Wednesday's Suburban Council South Division game.
Lane struck out 13 batters, and Sam Blum drove in three runs to help the Lady Raiders (3-0) take over sole possession of first place in the South Division from Bethlehem (2-1).
"She's a bulldog. She works hard, very hard," Colonie coach Kevin Jette said of Lane. "It's nice to give her the ball. She is a competitor in every form of the word."
"We didn't play our best game,'' said a dissatisfied Bethlehem coach Karen Gentile. "We didn't play good in all aspects, but our offense just didn't come through when we needed it.''
Bethlehem scored twice in the first inning on a two-run double by Mikayla Shade that drove in Morgan Mazone and Sammy Smaldone. Lane walked both Mazone and Smaldone, but struck out the side.
Colonie then took the lead in the bottom of the first. Blum doubled over the Bethlehem left fielder's head to drive in Kristen McKenna and Stephanie Reinhardt. Blum came around to score the third run on a single by Kassidy Ogren.
The Lady Raiders gave Lane a bigger cushion to work with in the third inning. Marisa Shultes drove in two runs on a bunt single and then scored when the Lady Eagles tried to pick her off third base to put Colonie ahead 6-2.
"The way we hit the ball was amazing, and it helps me when I keep my mind on that,'' Lane said "I felt like my pitches were on. I was hitting my spots really well.''
Smaldone gave Bethlehem some life in the top of the fourth inning when she belted a solo home run over the center field fence.
"She (Lane) was throwing a lot of first-pitch strikes," said Smaldone. "It was right down the middle, and it felt good when I hit it. I felt it go off the bat, and I just put my head down and ran.''
Lane got out of the fourth inning without further damage, and she only gave up one run the rest of the way.
Schultes and Blum each added RBI singles in the bottom of the fourth inning for Colonie. Schultes finished the afternoon with two hits, including a triple in the sixth inning, and Reinhardt added three singles.
"After my first at-bat, I was confident up there,'' said Schultes. "I knew we would have to be strong to beat the (Bethlehem), and we were."
Colonie and Bethlehem meet again May 15 in Delmar.