WILLIAMSPORT — It certainly wasn’t the hardest hit of Ariah Giles’ prep career, but her infield single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning was enough to give Williamsport a 3-2 victory over Clear Spring on Friday in the MVAL Antietam.
Giles — who earned the victory thanks to the hit and seven solid innings of pitching — got a piece of a two-out, 1-1 pitch from Blazers junior Amber Forrest, hitting a little spinner right between Forrest, first baseman Tori Albert and second baseman Haley Thorn. Albert went for the ball but couldn’t reach it, and when Thorn fielded it, no one covered first in time as Giles reached first and Candace Horchner scored the winning run.
“Everybody was holding their breath,” Wildcats coach Jennie Finafrock said. “Ariah deserved it. She pitched her butt off today, and after we made the errors and Clear Spring tied it, I told her she had to keep her head up. She made contact and it went her way.”
Emily Taylor opened the bottom of the seventh with a clean single up the middle. Horchner then reached on a fielder’s choice, with Thorn tagging out Taylor going to second. Lisa Artz followed with a fly ball deep into the right-field corner that Courtney Royce made a tough catch on for the second out.
Kayla Ewing — who was 3-for-3 with two doubles to raise her average to .614, tops in Washington County — was intentionally walked before Casie Files took a full-count sinker just low for her own walk to load the bases and set up Giles.
“Casie’s been our second-best hitter lately ... and she showed a lot of patience not to go after that,” Finafrock said.
Williamsport (8-7, 6-6) took a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Ewing led off with a rocket of a double to the right-center gap that just missed being her 10th home run. Ewing took third on Autumn Wahler’s one-out single and scored on Jasmine Rafter’s sacrifice fly.
The Wildcats made it 2-0 in the fifth. Horchner hit a one-out single to left, took second on a wild pitch and scored when Forrest — trying to intentionally walk Ewing — left a pitch too close to the outside corner and Ewing reached out and sent it to right for an RBI single.
“I just wanted to step into one,” said Ewing, who sent all three of her hits to the opposite field. “I was very surprised. It must have been an error on (Forrest’s) part.”
“(Assistant coach) Scott (Forrest) had just finished telling them to make sure it’s far enough outside,” Clear Spring coach Ron Baker said. “With her hitting ability, we didn’t want to take a chance. Without that mistake, we would have won.”
Clear Spring (8-6, 5-6) tied the game in the sixth. Thorn led off with a single to left, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Albert’s RBI single. Jose Stotler then hit a towering pop fly that no Wildcat took charge of. Wahler tried to run over from her shortstop spot to grab it but it glanced off her glove for a two-base error. Royce then hit an 0-2 pitch to the right side to score Albert with an RBI groundout.
“We had intentions of starting with a bunt and putting the ball in play, but that didn’t happen,” Baker said. “But she hit the ball to right and got the run across.”
Giles (8-6) allowed one earned run on six hits and one walk while striking out eight for Williamsport. Forrest (7-5) allowed three earned runs on nine hits and four walks while striking out 10.
Williamsport 3, Clear Spring 2
Clear Spring 000 002 0 — 2 6 1
Williamsport 000 110 1 — 3 9 3
Forrest and Knable. Giles and Ewing. WP — Giles (8-6). LP — Forrest (7-5).