SANDY CREEK The Sandy Creek and South Jefferson softball teams each entered Tuesdays Frontier League crossover clash undefeated and hoping for their first true test in a tightly-contested game.
And thats exactly what they got.
Sandy Creek senior Michaela Martin scored the game-winning run on a walk-off wild play in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the Comets captured a 5-4 victory over the visiting Spartans.
If you have two teams that want it bad enough, like both of us did today, youre going to see an end like that, South Jefferson senior Jackie Decker said.
The final play started with the bases loaded and one out with Sandy Creek senior Shania Darling at the dish.
Darling hit a grounder to South Jefferson shortstop Janessa Vaadi, who quickly fired the ball to Decker, the catcher, for the force out at home.
Decker then threw to first hoping for the inning-ending double play to force extra innings, but the ball dropped, and Martin, who started on second, raced home and crossed the plate for the victory.
We practice that (situation), Michaela Martin said. With two outs, run hard and run like you can score because theres always a possibility they could drop it, and you dont want to miss an opportunity because youre being lazy. You got to go hard all the way around the bases.
Sandy Creek coach Bill Fowler, whose team improved to 8-0, said he was just hoping for the best when he gave Martin the signal to go as she rounded third.
I knew it was going to be a close one because Jackies got a great arm, Fowler said. I was pretty sure that it was going to be a bang-bang play. Thats why I kept (Michaela Martin) going. I just said, Go. Go. Go. Go.
South Jefferson, which fell to 8-1, rallied from an early 4-0 deficit to force the last-inning drama.
Vaadi, a senior, ripped a two-run double to deep center field to tie the game at four runs apiece in the top of the sixth inning. Earlier Vaadi tripled in the fifth and scored on a passed ball to cut the South Jefferson deficit to 4-2.
Emily Eastham, also a senior, provided a run-scoring single to get South Jefferson on the board in the fourth inning.
We came back and we never gave up and thats definitely a good thing to learn in the middle of the season, Decker said.
Before Tuesdays game, Sandy Creeks slimmest margin of victory this season was eight runs.
The closest game for South Jefferson was a five-run victory over General Brown.
Weve got to be in those games so you can get better, Fowler said. I said to the girls, We need to be in a close game. Win one, lose one, we just got to be involved in one.
Senior catcher Kylee Martin led Sandy Creek, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple, and a run batted in.
Her fraternal twin sister, Michaela, singled twice and drove in two runs. She also pitched all seven innings, allowing eight hits to go with seven strikeouts.
I think a game like this will help us improve on what to do we if we get down or what to do if theyre hitting the ball at us, just how to adjust and make the plays, Kylee Martin said.
Decker and Vaadi both went 2-for-4 for the Spartans, and senior Heather Williams struck out five and surrendered nine hits while pitching all seven innings.