DEFIANCE – Emalee McKenzie’s final at-bat for the Defiance Lady Bulldogs was full of drama before the game-ending walk. Twice given a reprieve because of foul balls not fielded, McKenzie drew a walk-off walk in the bottom of the seventh inning to send Defiance to a 4-3 win over Wauseon in non-league softball Friday afternoon at the new softball facility in Defiance.
“The fact we played our hearts out, I can’t fault that at all,” said new Wauseon softball coach Jen Croninger.
All the damage came with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. A hit batter and back-to-back free passes turned into the game-winner.
During McKenzie’s at-bat, she popped-up foul balls down the third base line and behind the plate that couldn’t get caught. She stayed alive and eventually drew the game-ending walk.
“The biggest thing is, with the turf here, we’ll see things like this down the tournament trail,” the Wauseon coach said. “We’ve got to be able to play in the lights and play in all circumstances and I think that hurt us on foul balls tonight where we lost a couple.”
The Indians needed just four at-bats to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Alisa Shelt singled and Reagan Spadafore reached on an error, then Ally Tefft smacked a double to left to clear the bases.
“We came out and had our head in the game,” mentioned Croninger.
The score stayed 2-0 until Defiance tied the game in the bottom of the third. The Bulldogs laid down three-straight bunts, which led to a hit, error and sacrifice. With one run in and runners on second and third, Caileigh Jimenez lifted a fly ball deep enough to left field to score Morgan Porter.
“Their speed beat our gloves,” Croninger said about the inning. “The big thing is we’ve got to go back and work on bunt coverage.”
Defiance took a 3-2 lead in the fourth when Porter plated Carly Carpenter with a two-out single.
Wauseon took advantage of a throwing error to tie the game in the top of the seventh. Shelt hit her second double of the game, and eventually took off for third on a steal. She scored when the throw evaded the third baseman and went into left field.
Shelt took the loss in the circle. She allowed four runs – three earned – on four hits with seven walks and five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Shelt was also one of two Wauseon batters – with Tefft being the other – who hit two doubles.
Wauseon then swept Hilltop on the road in a doubleheader Saturday. They defeated the Cadets 6-5 in game one, and 15-5 in five innings in game two.
Juli Spadafore got the win in the circle in the first game, while Shelt was victorious in game two.
Tefft went 3 for 3 with a pair of RBIs in game one. Juli Spadafore (2 for 3) knocked in four runs, and Tefft (2 for 4) and Shelt (3 for 3) had two apiece to lead the Indians in the second game.
Wauseon (4-1) is at Edon today at 5 p.m.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org