By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
WAVERLY — Waverly was one strike away from advancing to the Section IV, Class B championship, but a wild pitch allowed Windsor to score the game-tying run in the top of the seventh inning.
Two innings later, junior Morgan Adams scampered home with the game-winning run on a wild pitch to give the Lady Wolverines to a 3-2 win and a date with state-ranked Susquehanna Valley Saturday afternoon in the Class B title game.
“I didn’t even realize it as it was happening,” said Waverly coach Brian Wendela. “We just put down a fake bunt to see what would happen, and that’s how they got their run on us. Funny how things work out.”
The win advances the Lady Wolverines to their first Section IV title game since 2013 — and just the third in school history. They lost in extra innings o Susquehanna Valley in the semifinals in each of the last two years.
“It feels rally great to finally get to a Section IV final,” said senior Wendi Hammond, a five-year starter.
“It’s three years in the making,” said Wendela. “We learned the hard way by losing these types of games … we hung on tight today.
“The defense played well, and made plays when it had to,” added Hammond. “It was a good team effort.”
After Hammond struck out side on 11 pitches in the top of the first inning, Waverly struck for two runs in he home half of the frame.
Hammond worked a walk to spark the rally, then beat a throw at second base on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Hali Jenner.
With runners on second and third and one out, junior Paige Lewis punched a two-run single into right field to give Waverly a 2-0 lead.
Windsor ace Kayli Rosencrans settled in after the first inning and held the Lady Wolverines scoreless through the eighth inning, and allowed just four more hits.
“We didn’t make our adjustments on some of her pitches, and I think we were getting a bit anxious,” said Wendela. “I think you can attribute a lot of it to the time off and not getting live at-bats.
“That said, she’s young and is going to be a very good pitcher,” added Wendela.
Hammond allowed just two hits through the first four innings, and the first 11 outs she recored were via strikeouts.
“I was feeling great,” said Hammond. “We hadn’t played in a while, so I was fresh.
“As a team, It kind of hurt us, having not played in a while, but to beat a (Windsor) team like this after all the time off is really impressive,” she added.
Windsor used a pair of one-out singles and a groundout to plate a run in the top of the fifth inning to trim the deficit to 2-1.
In the top of the seventh, Webb led off with a single to left field, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and took third on a come-backer to Hammond that resulted in the second out.
On a 1-2 pitch to Peterson, a high fastball found its way to the backstop, allowing Webb to scamper home with the winning run.
“‘Here we go again,’ definitely ran through my mind,” said Hammond, “but I have confidence in my team.”
Hammond walked Peterson, but she was called out for leaving first base on the next pitch to end the inning.
Rosencrans pitched around a two-out single by Kari VanAllen in the home half of the inning to send the game into extra innings.
After Hammond retired the side in order in the top of the eighth, Rosencrans again pitched around a two-out single — this time by junior Riley Hall — in the bottom of the frame.
Webb belted a two-out double in the top of the ninth, but Hammond ended the inning with her 16th strikeout of the game.
Morgan Lee hit a slow rolled to third base to lead-off the home half of the ninth, and reached base when the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag. Two pitches later, junior Morgan Adams laid down a bunt and the throw was wild and went out-of-bounds, allowing the runners to advance to second and third.
After pinch-hitter Adrianah Clinton walked to load the bases, VanAllen laid down a squeeze bunt, but Lee was forced out at home.
Three pitches later, Meyers, who fouled off a bunt attempt on the first pitch she saw, squared to bunt as the pitch bounced past the catcher, and Adams hustled home with the game-winning run.
“Our kids did a good job in the last inning of picking up signs, executing, and getting the job done any way they could,” said Wendela.
Hammond earned the win, allowing two runs — one earned — on seven hits in nine innings. She fanned 16, walked one, and threw 127 pitches.
“(Wendi) brought the momentum for us,” said Wendela. “She has been chomping at the bit the last couple of days to play.
“She was the first one on the field today, and was ready to rock-and-roll,” noted Wendela. “She pitched a great game.
“She got a little shaky at the end, but we figured it out as a team, and the team had her back,” he added.
Lewis singled and drove in two runs, while Hammond and Jenner each singled and scored one run, Hall and Van Allen each singled, and Adams scored one run to account for Wavily’s offense.
Rosencrans was tagged with the loss, allowing three runs — two earned — on five hits. She struck out 11, walked two, and threw 126 pitches.
Second-seed Waverly, now 17-2 and ranked sixth in the state, squares off with top-seed Susquehanna Valley, now 15-3 and ranked third in the state, Saturday at 2 p.m. at the BAGSAI Softball Complex in Binghamton.
IN PHOTO 1: Waverly’s Wendi Hammond. ... PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.
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