Marist junior Haly Richy could have taken a walk Saturday with the potential lead run on third base and two outs in the top of the seventh inning of Saturday’s Class 4A Sandburg Sectional final against Mother McAuley.
But this was one outside 3-and-2 pitch she wasn’t taking.
“I don’t look for walks,” Richy said. “I look for hits.”
She didn’t get all of it, but style points didn’t matter. The blooper down the right-field line dropped just out of the reach of diving second baseman Emily Marousek and plated Nicole Babrowski.
Pitcher Kristin Klutcharch slammed the door from there, giving Marist a 4-3 victory and a spot in Monday’s Class 4A Rosemont Supersectional against Trinity.
Babrowski, who moments earlier had what appeared to be an RBI single denied when Katie Caulfield was thrown out at the plate, finished with two hits, while Caulfield had a two-run home run and Audra Hecker went 3-for-3 for the RedHawks (24-15).
Micaela Carney (2-for-3) drove in all three runs for Mother McAuley (22-16) with a single and a two-run home run.
“It wasn’t a good hit and all, but it got the job done,” Richy said about her clutch single, which turned things around after McAuley tied the score at three on Carney’s blast in the bottom of the sixth. “Everyone just wanted to fight back, everyone just wanted to hit, keep it going. We’re the comeback kids.”
Caulfield’s two-run homer in the third put Marist in front for the first time, 2-1. The RedHawks added another tally in the fourth when Brooke Wyderski singled, stole second and later knocked the ball out of catcher Michelle Dempster’s glove while scoring on a base hit by Hecker.
Klutcharch, meanwhile, didn’t record a strikeout until the sixth inning, but kept McAuley off-balance for the most part. After Carney’s two-run home run, Klutcharch settled down to whiff back-to-back hitters and retire the third batter as well. She ended the game with a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh.
“I just try to make every pitch count like it’s my last,” Klutcharch said. “I feel great right now. Our team really stepped up.”