Neither defense was going to be scored on organically, so the international extra innings rule had to go into effect to put a runner on second base to start the inning in order to decide it.
The Williamsville East Lady Flames and Olean Lady Huskies went 10 innings Tuesday night in a defensive battle for the ages as the Flames defeated the Huskies 2-1 to win the Section VI Softball Class A championship.
Sophomore Christy Mack was 0 for 3 when she came to the plate in the bottom of the 10th. But with one out and two on, that didn’t matter. She could drive in the two game-winning runs.
“I was up there trying to block everything out,” Mack said.
On the third pitch of the at bat, Mack hit one deep into left field driving in Jessica Weaver and Veronica Zimmerman to win the game.
“I hit it down the shortstop, third base area,” Mack said. “When I saw both runs score I was jumping for joy. I’ve never been more excited.”
Williamsville East head coach Chris Durr was proud of the way she bounced back.
“She’s was off-balance today, but she came up at the right time and hit the ball through the hole,” Durr said. “She’s one of our best players.”
It was a quick turn of events as the momentum was in full swing for the Huskies not too long before.
In the top of the 10th, Olean junior Alyssa Ramarge was the placed on second to start the inning, as per the international extra inning rule.
Mariah Moses flied out to the second baseman, allowing Ramarge to get to third. On the next at bat, Justine Brooks drove home Ramarge on a ground ball to give Olean the first run of the game.
Grace Pogorzala was the Flames’ runner to start the 10th inning on second base. Zimmerman led off for Will East and grounded to Ramarge (at pitcher) who smartly threw the ball the third baseman and got Pogorzala out on a tag.
But Weaver made a clutch play. She hit one right behind first base, that allowed Zimmerman to get from first to third base and Weaver to get on to set up Mack.
“They’re a great defensive team, so I thought they were going to catch it,” Weaver said. “When they didn’t I was really excited.”
Olean head coach Danny Brooks said his team was as prepared as they could be but sometimes things happen that are just out of your control.
“We talked before we went on defense about getting the extra runner out first,” Brooks said. “Those little bloopers sometimes hurt you worse than long hits.”
Most of the game was defensive battle, a quick one at that. The Flames and the Huskies got through the first six innings in less than an hour.
In that time, Weaver had only given up one hit, threw four strikeouts and one walk for in the circle for Will East.
According to her coach, Weaver has been hot as of late.
“In the last five games, she’s been one of the best pitchers in the area,” Durr said. “She’s been an outstanding player for us.”
The senior captain is a three-year varsity player for the Flames, who doesn’t want her high school career to end just yet.
“I didn’t want to lose it,” Weaver said. “As soon as I got into a groove, I was pretty confident in my defense.”
On the other side, Ramarge had five strikeouts, keeping Will East off the board until the very end.
“She’s tremendous,” Brooks said. “Since we’ve been at sectionals she has only been giving up four or five hits to really outstanding teams.”
It looked like the Flames were going to win it in the bottom of the seventh as Madi Kozlowski came in to pinch hit for Maddy Miske.
Kozlowski led off the inning with a single. Pogorzala then successfully converted a sacrifice bunt that got Kozlowski to second. The junior then got to third on a passed ball. Zimmerman hit a grounder that was picked up by Olean shortstop Gabby Carpenter who threw it to home just in time to get out Kozlowski.
With the win, the Flames picked up their 4th sectional title in school history, first since 2008. Two years ago, Will East got to the sectional title game but could not even get one hit in a 9-0 loss to Starpoint.
At the end of the game both coaches agreed that it was one to remember.
“It was an awesome high school softball game,” Brooks said. “Both teams left everything it on the field.”
Durr agreed, saying no matter how it ended he knew that he was lucky to be there.
“That’s the best softball game I’ve ever been a part of,” Durr said. “Had we lost I would’ve said the same thing.”
The Flames move on to the Far West Regionals on Friday. First pitch 3:30 p.m. at SUNY Brockport against the Section V Class A champion Mercy.