Hull leads Devils to win over 'Cats
Command of the strike zone is a softball difference maker. Monday in Margaretville, Danielle Hull had it. The pitchers from Davenport did not.
Hull threw strikes the entire night, striking out seven Wildcats and walking only two. Davenport handed out 14 free passes with nine of the Blue Devil recipients eventually reaching home base as the Blue Devils downed their guests 17-6.
Davenport used the long ball to grab an early lead when Brittani Pietrefessa blasted a two run, first inning home run. The Blue Devils doubled that score in their half of the inning using two errors, a walk, and a Sarah Hagakore double to score four times.
Both teams added single runs in the second inning without a hit. Davenport added a run in the third to narrow the gap to 5-4, but Margaretville turned a Rachel Matheison single to add two runs in their third at bat.
Making a comeback
The Wildcats scratched their way back in the game grouping a hit batter, double and single to score two times in the fourth, trailing 7-6. That was all the visitors would get as Hull settled down to retire the last 10 Wildcats she faced.
Margaretville began pulling away in the bottom of the fourth. A dropped third strike, two walks and a Tess Svoboda single plated three more runs. Two triples, one by Amy Filupeit and the other a Hagakore shot, helped Margaretville bust open the game with a six run fifth. Both Margaretville sluggers had two hits in the game. Hagakore knocked home 5 RBIs.
The win improves Margaretville’s record to 5-2. The Blue Devils lead the Upper Division at 4-1.
The big-inning blues took a swipe at the Roxbury baseball team last week when the Rockets dropped contests to Jefferson and Hancock.
An eight-run Jefferson seventh inning erased a 6-4 lead as the Roxbury’s dropped a 12-7 decision to the JayHawks on Friday. Defending Section IV champion Hancock scored four or more runs in three different innings besting the Rockets on their home field, 18-6, the following day.
Jacob Pasa’s bases loaded triple was the big blow in Jefferson’s final inning explosion. Nick Smith had a big day at the plate for the JayHawks going three for four with two RBI’s.
Roxbury carried a 3-0 lead into the fourth before the JayHawks scored three times to tie the score. Both teams scored single tallies in the fifth with the Rockets adding another run in the sixth to take a 6-4 lead into the final frame.
Eric Shultis had a strong offensive game going three for four for Roxbury. Sam Nash added two more hits for the Rockets, including a double.
The Rockets gave the Section IV defending champions all they could handle early in the contest on Saturday, trailing only 4-3 through four innings. Hancock unleashed their long ball lumber late in the game, ripping four doubles and a home run.
It was a bizarre play in a season of madcap moments for the Margaretville baseball team.
Leading by a run with the tying run on third in the final inning, Margaretville’s freshman catcher Cooper Reither caught Chris Yearsley wandering too far off third. With Yearsley almost half way down the line, Reither ran him a few steps back toward third before tossing the ball to his third baseman, another freshman, Matt VanValkenburg.
Reither failed to follow his pass and clear the baseline moving behind VanValkenburg in the rundown. With Yearsley changing direction and chugging down the line toward home plate, the young Blue Devils’ catcher darted out of the base path. VanValkenburg’s throw home skipped off Yearsley’s helmet directly to Margaretville pitcher Kyle Short who was covering home plate. Short tagged out the runner and it appeared as if the Blue Devils had taken a giant step toward a major Delaware League upset.
But, the home plate umpire called defensive interference on Reither for hanging too long in the base path. “The umpire ruled that even though no contact was made, Coop’s presence in the base path slowed down Yearsley impeding his progress toward home plate,” explained Margaretville coach John Bernhardt. “He was a strong umpire who called a great game,” noted Bernhardt.
“On the bus going to the game, we were having a good time reviewing all kinds of crazy baseball situations from a book called “Baseball’s Knotty Problems.” I guess we never got to that page,” said an incredulous Bernhardt.
The Blue Devils carried a four-run lead into the seventh inning before the bottom fell out in their upset bid. Three straight bases-on-balls starting the inning set the table for Davenport’s game-tying comeback. “It’s funny,” lamented Bernhardt. “Up to that final inning our pitchers had great command of the plate. We had only walked one batter in the first six innings of the game.”
Yearsley’s two-run single plated two and a wild pitch made it 10-9 before the wacky rundown.
Troy Palmer opened the eighth with a base hit to left field, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and beat home the throw on an infield grounder for the game winner.
The Blue Devils trailed 6-2 entering the sixth inning but scored six times to tie the game. Dan VanKeuren, Kyle Short and Marshall Bouton all had key hits in the inning.
Margaretville added on two more runs in the top of the seventh, setting up the climactic finish.
Late inning blues haunted the Devils late last week, when four consecutive Windham extra-base hits to open the sixth inning erased a 4-3 lead putting the home team in a two-run hole.
Margaretville rallied to get one run back but left the tying run on third when Windham left fielder Brenden VanValin made a running catch on a game-ending fly ball.
Cooper Reither had two hits for the Blue Devils, including a double.