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Fourth inning outburst lifts Willard

By JOE GILROY • Apr 13, 2018 at 9:40 PM

MILAN — A wild top of the fourth inning tilted Friday’s Sandusky Bay Conference Bay division softball game for Willard.

Host Edison appeared to rolling through the first three innings when it jumped out to a 3-0 lead. But that’s when the wheels fell of for the home team and the Crimson Flashes (3-1, 2-1) scored six runs and batted around the order in a 7-6 victory at Edison High School.

In the pivotal inning, the Chargers (2-6, 1-3) committed three errors, walked a pair of hitters, had two pass balls, and hit another batter.

“What happened there is what has been happening to us all season long,” Edison coach Troy Keegan said. “Every game we have one really bad inning, and we aren’t good enough to overcome that at this point — and we are not learning from those mistakes like we should.

“It was a fun game, of course it is easier to say that when you come out on the winning side of it,” Willard coach Fred Mock said. “I am proud of them for all of the resilience that they have shown all year long. We got behind early and they kept plugging away and getting hits and in the big inning.

“I was happy to see the way they were able to methodically advance the runners against an excellent pitcher,” he added. “This group never quits and after Edison came back and tied the score up I thought we did a nice job of answering it right away on our next opportunity,” he added.

Willard had seven different players score runs in the game. Kourtney Craft led the Flashes with two hits and reached base three times in the game, and Jena Adams had a double and made it to base three times as well.

In the fourth, Carlee Gibson walked and scored on an error, while Makayla Schiffel singled and drove in a second run to make it a 3-2 deficit. With the bases loaded, a fielder’s choice by Kalli Sowers scored another run to tie the game.

Craft then scored on an error to take the lead, Kaiten Weiss scored on a passed ball and Madie Secor grounded into another fielder’s choice that scored two more runs to make it a 6-3 lead.

“We have a lot of inexperience that we are trying to work through right now,” Keegan said. “There is a lot of talent here, but they have to learn fast.

“I think that at the end of the season we will be a very good team,” he added. “But if we do not start doing what we need to do to get better, then it may be too late for it to matter.”

To the Chargers’ credit, they fought back and tied the game after scoring three runs in the fifth. The score didn’t hold long though, as Secor scored the game-winning run after leading the sixth inning off when she stepped to the plate and was plunked.

Three batters later, Adams was able to get an RBI single that closed out the scoring.

“We hit the ball well, but in the field, we made several amazing plays,” Mock said. “The one that sticks out in my mind was in the seventh inning and (Lindsey) Fortuna smacked the ball deep into right field and Makayla was able to track it down.

“That was big, because when it cracked on the bat I was nervous,” he added. “But she chased it down and made a great catch.”

Lindsay Fortuna was 2 for 4 at the plate and drove in two runs to help her own cause in the loss in the circle. Grace Houser also knocked in two runners with one hit, and Leah Krul added two more RBIs for Edison. Freshman Kayla Mancuso added two hits and crossed home plate twice, while Morgan Scott had a hit, stolen base, and scored twice.

“We hit the ball really well today, but it sometimes comes down to a few inches here or a few inches there,” Keegan said. “We were getting some good hard hits on the ball, but they all went right into the direction of their fielders and they did a good job of making those plays.

“If the wind is blowing out or instead of in we would have had a home run from Lindsey there at the end — but it doesn’t go out and she made a great play on the ball,” he added. “It was the same thing the other night. We could have had a chance at three homers, but with the way the wind is blowing, it doesn’t happen and we lose.”

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