Wolverines buckle down on defense to escape jam

Melissa Meador | Buy at photos.monroecountyjournal.com Hatley first baseman Abby Cantrell fields a bunt and throws as East Webster's Kandler Flora tries to get down the line.

Melissa Meador | Buy at photos.monroecountyjournal.com
Hatley first baseman Abby Cantrell fields a bunt and throws as East Webster’s Kandler Flora tries to get down the line.

By Melissa Meador

Monroe Journal

HATLEY – Hatley was a hit away from a walkoff win over East Webster in Friday’s Game 1 of their Class 2A North state softball series.

East Webster’s defense buckled down, though, to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh with no outs and hang on to the 4-3 win.

“We showed a lot of character, and our pitcher (Bailie Springfield) just came right at them,” East Webster coach Lee Berryhill said. “We made the plays behind her, and that’s what we’ve been doing all year.”

The Lady Wolverines had a three-run lead at 4-1 going into the bottom of the seventh before No. 7 hitter Taylor Richey started off Hatley’s rally with her leadoff single to right. Walks to Madison Seals and Maci Farrar brought up leadoff hitter Courtney Roberts, who came in hitting .505.

Her bases-loaded walk cut the lead to 4-2.

“We were being a little careful with her. We weren’t just going to sit there and groove her with a three-run lead,” Berryhill said. “Walking her wasn’t that big of a deal. It ended up working out.”

East Webster got a pair of fielder’s choice groundouts, with Ashton Wright’s cutting the lead to one, and a long flyball from Mary Reeves ended it.

Game 2 is today at East Webster at 1 p.m.

Execution counts

“The bottom of our lineup gave us a chance to win,” Hatley coach Chris George said. “We didn’t do a good job tonight of executing with runners in scoring position.”

East Webster took a 2-0 lead in the first after a walk to Springfield and a two-run blast from Autumn Frost, but stranded a pair after Madison Flemings’ double and an error. They added a run in the top of the third on Flemings’ second double of the game.

In the fourth, Abby Cantrell led off with a double for Hatley and scored on Richey’s first RBI single.

East Webster added an insurance run on Springfield’s sacrifice fly in the sixth but had a runner cut down at home by Roberts in center field to end the top of the seventh.

melissa.meador@journalinc.com