Hall of fame baseball great Yogi Berra was well known for his quotes, known as “Yogi-isms”. One of his most famous quotes; “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”
For anyone following the Garaway Pirate softball team this season, a bit of advice; don’t leave the game too soon because it definitely “ain’t over, till it’s over.”
John Glenn headed to Sugarcreek on Saturday afternoon to take on the Garaway Pirates. The game was switched from New Concord due to field conditions. Both teams entered the contest with undefeated seasons on the line.
The hard-hitting Muskies immediately showed why they have become an East District DII powerhouse. Avery Adams led off the game with a line drive single. Two outs later, Ali Hylton went deep off of Pirate ace Allison Luneborg, putting John Glenn up 2-0.
The Muskies got to Luneborg again in the third inning. The normally steady Pirate defense had perhaps their worst inning of the season. A slow reacting defense allowed Lyndi Slack and Avery Adams to reach base on bunt hits. A third bunt attempt finally netted the first out of the inning, as Kaitlyn Stress caught the ball in the air. Kendyl Hatfield followed with a routine fly to left field that was dropped, loading the bases with one out. Ali Hylton punished the Pirates for their defense by smashing a double down the left field line. A pair of Muskies scored for a 4-0 lead. John Glenn went up 5-0 on a sacrifice fly from Bre Tetirick.
After the third inning, Allison Luneborg limited the Muskies to three hits over the final six innings.
Meanwhile on the offensive side of the game, the Pirates could not buy a run. Garaway stranded seven runners over the first six innings, six of those where left standing in scoring position.
Then the bottom of the seventh arrived.
As the Pirates huddled to talk about their last chance, Coach Koshmider pleaded with his players to send a message to John Glenn. “I don’t know if we will score six runs to win this game. Let’s just go out there and at least show John Glenn that we have an offense! Get something going now and carry it into the next game.”
Amber Monigold listened well, sending a 2-1 pitch over the left field fence to lead off the inning. The Pirates had life. Zoe Johnson followed with a deep drive to center that was caught for out number one.
Now it was up to the top of the order. Chesli Rothacher and Hannah Halstead each walked. Luneborg followed with an RBI single. Unfortunately for Garaway, Halstead was thrown out at third on the play.
Down 5-2 and only one out away from their first loss of the season, it was not over.
Kaitlyn Stress singled to bring home Luneborg, 5-3. Kassidy Reidenbach doubled to bring home Stress, 5-4.
Now the game was in the hands of a pair of promising freshmen. Speedster Kallie Regula entered the game to run for Reidenbach. Cassy Donaldson stepped to the plate. Donaldson worked the count in her favor 2-0; she then singled home Regula to tie the game.
The Pirates two out rally sent the game into extra innings.
Garaway completed its spectacular come from behind win in the ninth inning. It all started with two outs. Donaldson walked and Sierra Slentz reached on an error. Monigold walked to load the bases before Zoe Johnson, who had already walked twice in the game, showed why patience truly is a virtue Johnson worked the count full before drawing the game winning walk.
Anyone who missed game one had a chance to see a near repeat in game two.
Once again the Muskies came out on fire. This time it was Reidenbach who had to endure the early inning attack. A two-RBI double by Tetirick put John Glenn up 2-0. Avery Adams singled in a run in the second for a 3-0 Muskie lead. Two batters later Hatfield belted a two-run homer.
Once again the Muskies had been spotted a 5-0 lead.
Unlike game one, the Pirates started to chip away at the John Glenn lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the second, Johnson singled home Regula to put Garaway on the board.
Garaway cut the lead to 5-2 in the third inning, with Reidenbach helping her cause with an RBI single to score Luneborg.
In the fourth inning, Johnson brought the Pirates within a run at 5-4 with a two run homer to left field.
The score remained 5-4 heading into the seventh inning.
A pair of walks put a runner in scoring position for the Muskies. Tetirick drove in her third run of the game, giving John Glenn a huge boost heading into the bottom of the seventh.
But like Yogi once said, “It ain’t over…”
Halstead ripped a deep fly ball out to start the bottom of the seventh. Luneborg followed with a double. Stress singled to cut the deficit to 6-5. A pair of singles by Reidenbach and Donaldson loaded the bases for the Pirates. Jocelyn Troyer nearly dropped a single over the Muskies shortstop’s head, but she made the play and once again the Pirates were down to their final out.
It was now up to Monigold to keep the Pirates alive. Monigold, who had sparked the incredible game one rally, fell behind in the count 1-2, then sent the next pitch to left field for a game tying single. Johnson struck out with bases full and once again the teams headed to extra innings.
In the ninth inning, Carleigh Ludwig and Hatfield singled to start the inning. With a runner at third, John Glenn went with the squeeze play. The Pirates came up big, nailing Ludwig at the plate. The Muskies scored on the next play when Tetirick’s ground ball out brought Hatfield home.
Down a run and heading into the ninth, Reidenbach wasted no time. On the first pitch of the inning, Reidenbach sent a rifle shot into the gun range. The shot didn’t hit a clay pigeon but it tied the game.
For the third time over the course of the day, the Pirates extended the game for another inning.
In the 10th inning, Halstead reached on a two base error. Luneborg followed with a bunt to move Halstead over to third. Instead of a sacrifice, the bunt turned into the game winning play as an errant throw allowed Halstead to score.
After 19 innings of play, it was finally over as the Pirates came away with an improbable sweep of the Muskies.