BOONSBORO — Make it two home games and two walk-off victories in the bottom of the seventh inning for the Boonsboro softball team.
“They’re going to give me a heart attack,” Warriors coach Traci Humphreys said after Haley Payne launched a two-run home run over the fence in right-center field to give Boonsboro a 4-3 victory over Williamsport in an MVAL Antietam contest in wintry conditions Wednesday.
With two outs and Tristan Hartle on first after a single to right, Payne jumped on Ariah Giles’ 3-0 pitch to send the Warriors (3-1, 2-0) into another celebration on their home field.
“I kind of knew it was over, because I felt the bat connect and it was such a solid hit,” said Payne, who gave herself the pitching victory by seizing the moment at the plate. “I was looking for the chance to help my own cause.”
Last Thursday, Nikki Reeder’s two-run double gave the Warriors a 5-4 victory over Tuscarora.
“It’s our home field and we’re both seniors,” Payne said of herself and Reeder. “We’re just trying to make the best of our senior year.”
Payne’s blast put Boonsboro at the top of the MVAL Antietam standings — of course, the calendar hasn’t flipped to April yet and a lot of softball remains to be played.
Wildcats coach Jennie Finafrock regretted not intentionally walking Payne once Giles fell behind in the count.
“What I talked to Ariah about was not leaving the ball up in the zone. Sure enough ...,” Finafrock said. “I just should have walked her. I’ll take the blame for the call. Ariah puts the ball where I want her to 99 percent of the time, you can’t ask for anything else.”
Payne got off to a rough start in the first inning, walking four Wildcats. The first two — Lisa Artz and Candace Horchner — rounded the bases on wild pitches for a 2-0 lead.
But Payne was sharper after that, allowing only an unearned run in the seventh as Williamsport (1-2, 0-2) took a 3-2 lead. With one out, Kayla Ewing reached base when left fielder Alison Holmes dropped a towering fly for a two-base error. Ewing took third on a wild pitch and scored on Casie Files’ single down the left-field line.
Payne struck out 12 and walked eight. She came up clutch when she had to, as the Wildcats went 2-for-10 with five strikeouts with runners in scoring position, stranding 11 runners overall.
“I wasn’t trying to push as hard off the mound,” Payne said. “Once it started getting slippery out there, I eased up a bit.”
“We had hits here and there, but didn’t get the big ones, and they did,” Finafrock said. “That’s just how it works sometimes.”
Boonsboro tied the game at 2 in the fifth, touching Giles up for three hits. Cate Heaney led off with a single, Kimmie Seabright walked and both runners moved up a base on a passed ball. Heaney scored on a wild pitch and Seabright scored on Amber Welch’s bloop single.
Boonsboro 4, Williamsport 3
Williamsport 200 000 1 — 3 7 1
Boonsboro 000 020 2 — 4 9 1
Giles and Ewing. H. Payne and K. Payne. WP — H. Payne. LP — Giles. HR — B: H. Payne (7th, one on).