Softball: Amanda Lack’s double lifts Waubonsie over NeuquaKatie Benson (left) of Waubonsie Valley reacts as her slide comes up short of second base on the sticky infield, as Neuqua Valley shortstop Brooke Meyer looks for the loose ball. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Leave it to two underclassmen to pave the path to victory.
That’s exactly what Waubonsie Valley (16-5, 8-2) did in its 6-4 win over Neuqua Valley in Monday’s Upstate Eight Valley contest. Freshman pitcher Shannon Hohman (12-3) picked up the win with a complete game and sophomore catcher Amanda Lack (3-for-4, three runs scored and two RBI) smashed the game-winning double.
With the game knotted at 3-3 in the fifth, Lack laced a go-ahead, two-run double. Fellow sophomore Melaina Koulos (2-for-3, RBI) doubled Lack in for the Warriors’ final run as the team batted around in the frame.
“It was (a) 3-2 (count) and I knew that I needed to go to the right side to score the runners,” Lack said. “And obviously, you’re looking to protect with two strikes. It was an outside pitch and I knew I had to go with it. I did.”
The rally came after the Wildcats (16-8, 9-2) tied the game in the top of the fifth. Kelsey Dominguez singled with two outs, went to second when Brooke Meyer was hit and scored on a Warriors error.
Hohman allowed three earned runs on nine hits, two walks and two hit batters. She also fanned five.
Neuqua Valley sophomore Jamie O’Brien (9-6) pitched 4-2/3 innings, permitting six earned runs on 10 hits. O’Brien recorded three strikeouts and walked four. She was relieved by Mac Spittal, who pitched 1-1/3 scoreless innings while striking out two. Spittal also hit two batters, walked one and gave up one hit.
Each team scored once in both the first and fourth. Waubonsie Valley took a 2-1 lead when Meghan Grannan blasted a home run to lead off the second.
The Warriors loaded the bases with no outs in the third but failed to score. They left 13 runners on base and the Wildcats stranded nine of their baserunners.
“When we have those momentum shifts, they tend to kinda get down a little bit,” Waubonsie Valley coach Aly Kelley said. “Usually we play up and down, up and down, up and down. We played on a steady line this whole game. That’s the best I’ve seen them play consistently.”
The game stayed 2-1 until the fourth, when Megan Hannigan singled in pinch-runner Carly Cervantez, who replaced Alyssa Domico following Domico’s one-out double.
The Warriors responded with a run of their own in the home half of the frame on Katie Benson’s single, setting the stage for the dramatic fifth. Benson finished 3-for-3 with a double, two singles, a walk, a stolen base and an RBI.
Neuqua Valley coach Melissa Wilson came away impressed with the Warriors’ hard-hitting ways and aggression at the plate.
“In our league, you have to be able to hit all the time,” she said. “Any team can be good on a given day, but this is a hitters’ league. Everyone can hit, so the more hits you get, the better position you put yourself in (to win).”