LIBERTY CENTER — Did your mama ever tell you that if you play with fire that you’re gonna get burned?
All day long Liberty Center pitched around Evergreen’s dangerous freshman slugger Macy Chamberlin, and three times the move backfired, the last when Jocelyn Schuster hammered a two-strike, two-out, two-run double in the top of the 13th inning as the Vikings finally subdued the Tigers, 7-5, to win a Division III softball sectional title Friday.
The Vikings took a 2-0 lead right away in the first when a two-out walk and an error set up Skylee Raker’s double to left that marked both runners.
Liberty got one back in the bottom of the inning when a misplay on Bea Barrett’s fly ball chopped the lead in half.
Chamberlin began her parade to first by way of six straight base on balls in the third, and after Breanna Huffman singled, Raker delivered again with a two-run single to increase the Vikes advantage to 4-1.
A walk, hit batter, and a fielder’s choice scratched out a run for Liberty in the fourth, then the Tigers’ big play duo of Sam Engler and Barrett came through in the bottom of the sixth to bring the Tigers back to even.
Engler’s triple to deep right was followed by a Barrett double to center to get Liberty Center within a run, then a sacrifice and a ground out knotted the score at 4-4.
From that point on, Huffman was lights out, giving up just two Tiger hits the rest of the way.
Again in the ninth the Tigers walked Chamberlin; and again the Vikes came through behind her as Huffman singled and Raker hit a fly ball to score the go-ahead run for her fifth RBI of the day.
However, just that quick, Evergreen gave the win away as three Viking miscues in the field — two on the same play — brought home the tying run.
It stayed even until the 13th.
One last time Chamberlin was put on base and one last time a Viking came through behind her.
Huffman’s shot toward third was misplayed for an error and with an 0-2 count, Schuster blistered a shot to center to bring home two runs and regain an Evergreen lead.
This time Huffman took matters into her own hands, blowing away three straight Tigers on strikes, giving her 21 strikeouts on the day to finish it.
The win raised the Vikings’ overall record to 15-8 as they head into the district tournament.
Evergreen takes on top-seeded Otsego Monday in a district semifinal contest held at Maumee’s Rolf Park.