WAVERLY — Windsor’s softball program has been strong for many years. Therefore, it’s no surprise that when the Black Knights hooked up with Waverly in the Section IV Class B semifinal Friday afternoon the game was tight throughout.
Seven innings weren’t enough to decide this one. Finally in the bottom of the ninth, Waverly managed to push across the game-winning run for a 3-2 win.
“I felt pretty good going in,” said Waverly pitcher Wendi Hammond, who struck out 15, scattered seven hits and gave up just one walk. “It has hurt us that we haven’t played in a while. To come out and beat a team like this is definitely impressive.”
“This was one of our goals,” said Waverly Coach Brian Wendela. “1998 was the last time we won a division championship. We did that. We didn’t win an overall IAC championship, which we wanted. We haven’t won a Section IV championship and that was our goal coming into this year
“It’s a huge deal,” added Hammond. “It’s one more step to our goal.”
That win sends the Lady Wolverines into today’s Section IV Class B championship game against Susquehanna Valley. The Sabers made their way to the final by overcoming a two-run deficit to post a 7-6 win over Chenango Forks in the day’s other semi.
Waverly led most of the way against the Black Knights. After Waverly Hammond fanned the side in order in the top of the first, she walked to open the bottom of the inning. Hali Jenner attempted a sacrifice bunt but reached base when Windsor’s attempt to get Hammond at second was unsuccessful. Hammond went to third on the play, and Jenner ran to second on the next pitch. After a pop fly to the infield, Paige Lewis stepped in and laced a two-run single down the right field line.
Windsor picked up hits in the second and third innings, but each time the Knights got a runner on base Hammond fanned the last two batters of the inning. Hammond had 15 strikeouts in the game, including 10 of the first 13 batters of the game.
After going down in order in the fourth, Windsor got something going in the fifth inning. With one down, Hallie Martin and Ruth Yingling singled. Martin got to third on the Yingling hit and scored on an RBI grounder by Vanessa Morgan.
Windsor tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the seventh when Leanna Ricci singled, was sacrificed to second, took third on a grounder back to the pitcher and scored on a wild pitch.
“(The last two innings) were really tough on me,” said Hammond. “I just had to take it batter by batter.”
It looked like we might be settling in for a long afternoon, but Waverly managed to score a run without a hit in the bottom of the ninth.
Morgan Lee started off the inning by reaching first on a throwing error that caused the first baseman to pull her foot off the bag. Morgan Adams dropped down a sacrifice bunt but went to second as Lee darted to third on an error. Pinch hitter Adrianah Clinton walked to load the bases. Kari VanAllen’s attempted suicide squeeze turned into an out at home but left Adams at third. During Sydney Meyers’ at bat, the ball got past the catcher and Adams scored without a play.
Waverly only had three hits. In addition to the Lewis single, Hammond and VanAllen each had a single
“We have been (manufacturing runs) all year,” said Wendela. “It’s sometimes hard with our schedule because we get in games where we can’t practice those situations but we do it all the time in practice. To simulate it in a game of this magnitude is hard to do, but we’ve worked on it.”
And Friday, all of that work paid off.