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Reeder gets the right idea to lift Warriors to last-pitch win

March 24, 2011|By DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com



BOONSBORO — Thursday’s softball game between host Boonsboro and Tuscarora came down to the final pitch — a pitch Warriors senior Nikki Reeder will remember for a lifetime.

Or maybe not.

Reeder said she had “no idea” where that final pitch was. No matter. She lined Titans reliever Haley Cristensen’s two-out, two-strike outside offering into the gap in right center, sending Kimmie Seabright and Kayla Payne home with the tying and winning runs for a 5-4 victory.

“I was really, really scared that I would get out,” Reeder said. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I just did that.’ It was amazing.”

Reeder’s double gave Boonsboro’s Traci Humphreys her first varsity coaching victory in her second game.

“Did you see the jumping and the screaming? We needed this win today,” Humphreys said. “Just the excitement, it was incredible.”

The Warriors used the bunt to put themselves in position to win.

Trailing 4-3 entering the bottom of the seventh, Seabright led off and bunted the first pitch she saw to the right side. Cristensen fielded it cleanly but rushed her throw and it went wide left, deflecting off the webbing of first baseman Emily Valin’s glove for one of Tuscarora’s four errors.

Kayla Payne followed with a bunt single down the left-field line that third baseman Alexja Jackson was late getting to and had no play on. Amber Welch followed with a grounder that shortstop Chloe Collins fielded cleanly. Collins turned as if she would throw to third to force out Seabright, but realized the throw would be late, and by then it was too late for Collins to throw out Welch at first, leaving the bases loaded with no outs.

“We knew we were going to go to the short game in the last inning to force errors and get on base, and it worked,” Humphreys said.

Cristensen almost got out of the jam. She struck out Tristan Hartle and induced Haley Payne’s foul popup to first for the second out, then got ahead 0-2 on Reeder. But Reeder fought off two pitches and took another just off the outside corner before connecting on the game-winning hit.

Haley Payne was the beneficiary in the circle. She struggled with her control, walking six and uncorking several wild pitches, but she also struck out six and got out of a couple jams — with help from a defense that made no errors — as Tuscarora stranded six runners and failed to fully capitalize on its chances.

“We struggled defensively the last couple years a lot, so to be playing such solid defense is incredible,” Humphreys said.

Boonsboro took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Hartle singled up the middle and scored on Haley Payne’s double to deep center that Titans center fielder Annie Wickett almost made a tough catch on.

Tuscarora tied it at 1 in the top of the second, as Rachel Hallyburton walked, raced all the way to third on Katie Lacko’s bunt up the first-base line and scored on a wild pitch.

The Warriors answered with two runs in the bottom half for a 3-1 lead. Cate Heaney singled to right and raced to third on an error. Seabright walked and took second on defensive indifference before Kayla Payne ripped a two-run single up the middle.

Valin’s two-run homer to left knotted the game at 3 in the third, and the Titans took a 4-3 lead in the fourth. Lacko singled to center and took second on a wild pitch. Jackson walked, both runners moved up a base on another wild pitch, and Lacko scored on Wickett’s fielder’s choice grounder to Hartle at short. Hartle tagged out Jackson running from second to third on a non-force play for the third out a split second after Lacko touched home plate.

Boonsboro 5, Tuscarora 4
Tuscarora    012    100    0    —    4    5    4
Boonsboro    120    000    2    —    5    7    0
Collins, Cristensen (5) and Welch. H. Payne and K. Payne. WP — H. Payne. LP — Cristensen. HR — T: Valin (3rd, one on).

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