Bryan was able to tie the game at 1-1 in the seventh forcing extra innings, but in extras Wauseon got to Golden Bear pitcher Addie Arnold and earned a 2-1 victory by way of Aubrianna Everly’s RBI single in softball action Friday.
The win was all-important in terms of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League race as it puts Bryan, Evergreen and Wauseon each at 4-1, while Archbold sits at 5-1.
“One of the biggest wins we’ve had,” admitted Wauseon Coach Nick Lavinder. “Last night we scored nine in the top of the seventh (a 13-10 win at Liberty Center). And this was just one of them fight tooth and nail type of games. The first five and a half innings was scoreless. The wind blowing in, the wind did help some of them plays — killed the ball in the air.”
The Golden Bears tied the score in their half of the seventh on Caitlyn DeWitt’s one-out RBI single that drove in Arnold.
Although Wauseon went down in order in the bottom of the seventh, the Indians came through in crunch time in the eighth.
Brianna Hays reached on a Bryan error to lead off the inning. Following a pop out, Ava Kovar walked then both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Then came Everly who laced a single, bringing in Hays for the walkoff win.
“She’s one of my top three hitters,” said Lavinder of Everly. “I know she struggled earlier (in the season), but that’s one of the best pitchers that we’ve seen. And I told the girls, until we get to regionals, that’s probably the best pitcher we’re gonna see for a little while. She’s a comeback NWOAL Player of the Year.”
The Indians also made some stellar plays in the field that kept the Golden Bear offense down.
In the fifth DeWitt made it to second base after putting down a bunt that was then thrown away by Wauseon. She moved to third on a wild pitch, but Kierstyn Bherns’ groundball enabled the Indians to get DeWitt at home plate and then throw to first for a double play.
An error on Marlee Yoder’s bunt plus Arnold’s walk put two Bryan runners aboard in the top of the fourth. A ball in the dirt would put them in scoring position.
Wauseon pitcher Ella Hageman was able to get the next hitter, Kailee Thiel, down on strikes. That set up the inning-ending double play when another bunt by DeWitt was too shallow allowing the defense to get Yoder out at the plate. Furthermore, DeWitt got too greedy in trying to advance to second on the play and was gunned down by the catcher, Hays.
“We got a play that’s for when we get into them situations,” said Lavinder of his defense being able to wiggle out of multiple jams. I’m calling pitches so Jen’s (assistant coach Jen Croninger) calling the defense for me. It’s kind of that pump-fake to first, see if we can get them to jump. And they bit. We know to run at them and try to get them into a rundown and we got them.”
Wauseon’s other run came with the aid of an error in the fifth. After Autumn Pelok walked, Hays flew one out to right that was misplayed by the outfielder and allowed Pelok to score from first.
Hageman went all eight innings for the Indians in earning the win in the circle. She scattered three hits, allowed the one earned run, and struck out seven Golden Bear hitters to just two walks.
Wauseon has four home games this week. They welcome Patrick Henry Monday, Holgate Tuesday, Swanton Thursday and Montpelier on Friday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.