Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 22, 2018

Destiny! Tigers win!

New London scrambles to state on wild walk-off error
Jul 10, 2018
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger The New London softball team poses with their state qualifying banner, surrounded by their fellow students in the outfield.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News

 

NEW LONDON — Monday night’s regional final in New London was wild, hectic, unpredictable and the definition of an instant classic. The Tigers clawed back from a two-run deficit to win the game in their final at-bat on a two-out throwing error that led to both the tying and winning runs.

Trailing 3-2 with one out, Carson McSorley stood at third base. Camryn Blint was at second, and Layney Loyd stepped to the plate. On an attempted squeeze play, Loyd’s bunt was met with a diving catch by North Mahaska pitcher Emma Deucore. McSorley was sprinting back to third, but looked to be a sure third out as Deucore fired the ball to the third-baseman. Instead, the ball flew past the third-baseman’s glove, and under the legs of the left-fielder backing it up, which not only led to McSorley’s tying run, but Blint’s winning run as well.

“It was meant to be,” Tiger head coach Duane Blint said after a lengthy celebration. “Somebody was watching over this softball team.”

The Warhawks and Tigers each scored one run in the second inning. North Mahaska’s Mallory Klinker knocked in the first run of the game in the top half of the frame, but Marah Hartrick tied the game with an RBI single in the bottom half, bringing home Breanna Mettler who reached with a lead-off walk.

The Tigers had a few chances to take the lead, but Duecore and the Warhawk defense was as stingy as they could be for the first six innings. New London left runners on second and third in the second inning, stranding both despite getting them in scoring position with one out. Then, in the fourth, Mettler and Sydni Coleman were both in scoring position with one out, but nobody could bring them home.

The Tigers threatened again in the bottom of the fifth, getting McSorley and Blint on second and first respectively with one out, but again, the Tigers couldn’t push the runs home.

Disaster struck in the top of the sixth. North Mahaska’s first two batters made outs, but a little bad luck in the field led to two Warhawk runs.

North Mahaska’s Haeyley Pinkerton and Kobi Evans each grounded softly to third base. Mettler’s throw was in time in both cases, but in both cases the ball got lost in the bright summer sun and snuck past Alexa Wenger at first base. One run raced around to score on the second error and Klinker delivered her second RBI of the game with a two-out, two-strike single to make it 3-1 Warhawks.

New London went quietly in the sixth, and Deucore got Hartrick out to start the seventh, but Sofie Reighard stepped up for the second-straight game in the nine-hole.

Reighard sent a grounder to the short stop and hustled to first base to beat the throw, putting one on with one out, and sparking the Tiger rally.

“Sophie has come around,” Coach Blint said about his nine-hitter. “Sophie and Marah have come around at the end of our lineup, and they’re both hitting the ball hard.”

McSorley, who already had one hit in the ballgame, stepped up to the plate next. The Warhawk corner infielders played in to guard against a potential bunt attempt, leaving plenty of space open for the senior speedster to line a single into the gap and put two runners on base.

Blint laid down a perfect bunt to try and get the runners over, but her speed forced the first error of the inning, as the ball got by the first-baseman, sending Reighard to the plate and McSorley around to third and putting Blint at second for the potential winning run.

Loyd swung and missed at the first pitch, putting herself down 0-1. The Warhawks decided to use a timeout to talk things over, and that’s when Coach Blint decided to put on the squeeze.

McSorley got three-fourths of the way down the line when the ball was in the air, and froze right next to the diving Deucore when the ball was caught.

“When she caught it, I was just trying my hardest to get back as fast as I could,” McSorley said. “And I don’t even know what was happening after that. I just heard Coach screaming ‘Go!’ I was just listening to Coach the whole time, and when he said ‘go,’ I just ran my fastest to home.”

And when McSorley got to the plate, she turned and saw her long-time teammate coming in right behind her.

“When I saw Camryn, I was in tears,” McSorley recalled. “It’s just crazy, because it’s like...this is the best senior year. I mean, (there was) state track, and now it’s me and Camryn again, and it’s just awesome.”

Blint had a better view of the chaos in front of her, and turned the jets on right when she saw the ball go past the Warhawk fielders.

“I was just watching to see if they caught it,” Blint said. “Then once they did, I was just making sure everything went right. And once they overthrew it, I was just thinking, ‘score! score!’ I saw how far it went, and I was like, ‘we’re going to win!’”

Blint was also the starting pitcher in the game, and had another great performance, giving up just one earned run on five hits and no walks through five innings of work. She struck out three batters along the way. Coleman picked up the win, throwing two innings and giving up two unearned runs on one hit and no walks, while striking out two.

“It’s the best feeling ever,” said Blint. “There is no better way to end my senior year than to go to state.”

The Tigers earned the No. 7 seed and will play second-seeded Akron-Westfield on Monday, July 16.

That game, which will take place at the softball complex in Ft. Dodge, is set to start at 1 p.m.

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