Two very similar games in two nights saw two very opposite results when the West Holmes Lady Knights and Wooster Generals squared off on the softball field Tuesday and Wednesday, March 28-29.
In both games West Holmes bolted out to huge leads, but in the opener Wooster rallied to claim an 11-9 victory. However, in game two at Wooster High School, the Lady Knights gain staked themselves to a large lead, but this time hung on for dear life as Wooster again came storming back. West Holmes eventually emerged as a 12-11 victor as the two Ohio Cardinal Conference foes battled to a split.
“We had to try to climb out of a huge hole in both contests, and we put ourselves in those situations,” said Wooster coach Scott Dunlap.
In the opener, the Lady Knights bolted to a 7-0 lead through three innings, on the strength of doubles off the bats of Callie Cline, Samantha Rogers and Maddie Woods, and singles from Brooke Workman, Savannah Rogers and two from Morgan Allen.
However, Wooster responded with one in the fourth before exploding for six in the fifth to knot things up at seven apiece.
In that rally hard-hitting Dusty Reynolds delivered tow of her four total hits, while Audrey Cass and Katie Brownson also delivered big knocks.
With the game tied in the seventh, Wooster erupted for four runs, with the big hit being a Brownson two-run home run to left. Reynolds later delivered run-scoring double and Audrey Beck spanked an RBI single.
West Holmes valiantly fought back. With tow outs, an error opened the door, and Maris Hoffee smacked a single as did Samantha Rogers. Savannah Rogers and Woods delivered run-scoring single to reload the bases with the tying run on second base, but Natalie Martin’s sharp shot hit a runner and ended the game.
“We started strong, but let our guard down in the middle of the game,” said West Holmes coach Jaime Chenevey. “We got the tying and winning runs on in the 7th with two outs, but were unable to finish it.
Macee Harpster picked up the win for Wooster, while Olivia Ferguson suffered the loss in defeat.
Game two began much like the first one had, with West Holmes forging a large lead by knocking in eight runs in the top of the second inning.
Cline and Becca Vales both singles and Workman drew a walk to load the bases. A Hoffee walk brought home the game’s first run and Samantha Rogers singled in a run. After Savannah Rogers walked, Martin swatted a sacrifice fly and Allen drove home a pair with a shot to let. Cline, Vales and Workman all singled to produce the lead.
“We can hit the ball up and down the line-up,” Chenevey said. “This team will score some runs because we can get production from everyone.”
Wooster responded with six runs of its own in the bottom of the inning, with Reynolds crushing a two-run double and Lexi Rehm delivering a two-run single.
Then the bats quieted until the sixth, when West Holmes plated four huge runs to take a 12-6 edge. Samantha Rogers singled in a pair and Woods knocked in two more with her fourth hit of the game.
Again Wooster stormed back. Two singles and a walk to load the bases was followed by a run-scoring ground-out. Reynolds spanked an RBI single to left, and after Ferguson got a come-backer for a force out at home for the second out of the inning, Rehm smoked an RBI double down the line in left to make it 12-10. Cass singled her home, and with the tying run on first, Emma Robertson lofted a soft fly up the middle, that Woods leaped for and hauled in to end the game.
Ferguson picked up the win while the loss went to Brownson.
“Any time you can escape a game like this with a win you’re happy, but after we gave up the big lead the night before, we talked a lot about finishing a game,” Chenevey said. “We wanted to get on top early and keep up the pressure, and for the most part we did that. I thought Olivia came on in relief and gave us some big innings on the mound. She kept the ball down and out, and was pretty effective. We left some runners on base, and we continue talking about having that killer instinct, but we didn’t crumble tonight and came away with a win.”
In game tow, the three Lady Knights freshmen, Woods, Allen and Cline, each pounded out four hits. Vales added three while Samantha Rogers had a pair of hits and three RBI in the 19-hit attack.
For Wooster, Reynolds had three hits and knocked in three runs, Rehm had a pair of hits and three RBI and Cass and Emma Anderson delivered three hits apiece in the Generals’ 16-hit effort.
“We talked after last night’s game about spotting teams to big leads early, and we turned around and gave up eight runs in the second after leaving the bases loaded in the first,” Dunlap said. “We continue to give extra outs on routine plays and dig ourselves into some pretty big holes, and we can’t continue to do that. We have a good enough hitting team that we are going to score runs, but we can’t afford to fall behind that big that early and hope to come back all the time.”