WOODWARD — A refusal to submit is one sure way to earn the praises of your head coach, as the Woodward-Granger softball team discovered Thursday.
“I can’t say enough how proud I am of the way the fought back time after time tonight,” Hawk skipper Noah Bean said. “This was a complete team win. Everyone had a part in this, whether getting a big hit or making a defensive play. The dugout kept us up and we keep fighting until we found a way to win. I could not be more proud.”
Panorama (9-6, 5-5) was in town for a WCC doubleheader and had chances to sweep the twinbill, only to see W-G snatch both victories in the late stages to remain perfect in conference play. Winners of seven-of-eight, the Hawks improved to 13-5 overall and are now 8-0 in WCC action.
The home team in the first game, the Hawks grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second. The Panthers used a four-run sixth to grab a 4-2 lead, but the Hawks countered in their ensuing at-bat with a rally that began when Maggi Mallon reached on an error.
Kaycee Major, Carli Major and Riley Jamison helped plate the two tying runs, with the Panthers kept off the scoreboard in the top of the seventh.
Miranda Aunspach opened the bottom of the seventh with a base hit, with Meagan Bandstra doubling off the fence in left-center to send Aunspach sprinting home with the winning run.
Bandstra was 3-for-4 with two doubles, with Kaycee Major scoring twice and finishing 3-for-3 with a double to help lead the attack.
Dalaney Bice threw 6.1 frames, allowing three hits and five walks while striking out three. Jamison was in the circle for two outs, surrendering four runs (three earned) on three hits and a walk while striking out one.
The nightcap saw Panorama score twice in the bottom of the first and then once more in both the second and third frames to open a 4-0 lead.
“The kids didn’t get down,” Bean said. “They bought in that they would start getting hits. We were hitting it hard, just right at people. The dam finally broke in the fifth when we scored twice, and then we scored two more in the sixth.”
The Panthers had runners on base seemingly the entire night, but stranded nine in the opener before leaving 13 on the bags in the second contest.
“We played great defense tonight,” Bean said. “There was one situation where Maggi Mallon (in right field) could have caught a deep foul ball with a runner on third, but Carli (Major) was playing first and yelled at her not to catch it because the runner would have tagged and scored. We ended up getting an out and getting out of the inning.
“That is an example of the kind of senior leadership this team has,” he added. “Carli has played a lot of right field and knew there was no way to get the runner, so she called Maggi off. A great example of veteran leadership.”
W-G grabbed a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh when Kendra Husmann singled. Mallon followed with a base hit to push Husmann to third, then distracted the Panorama defense by dancing between first and second base long enough for Husmann to race home and score.
However, the Panthers were determined not to yield, and forced extra innings by plating a tying run in the bottom of the seventh.
Bice doubled in the eighth, with Kayley Dresback inserted as a courtesy runner. She raced home for a 6-5 W-G lead when Bree Lesch came through with a clutch single.
Third baseman Kaycee Major’s stabbing snag of a hard-hit line drive to open the bottom of the eighth helped deny a Panther rally and ensure the win.
“That is what I mean by everyone contributing,” Bean said. “Kaycee was 3-for-3 in the first game but did not have a hit in the second game. She got hit hard on the elbow batting in the seventh and it was a real painful hit, but she sucked it up and went out there and made a big play and I think it took all the air out of their chances to come back.”
Jamison lasted two innings in the start, surrendering four runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks while fanning one. Bice threw six innings in relief for the win, allowing seven hits and walking one. She yielded a run and finished with five strikeouts.
Bice was 2-for-3 with two doubles, two walks and two RBIs with Jamison 2-for-4 wiht a double. Lesch finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs while Mallon was 2-for-4 as well. Bandstra, Husmann and Carli Major also had hits, with Carli Major scoring twice.
W-G hosts the Phil Creese Classic Saturday. They will play Pekin at 10 a.m. with Pekin to face Saydel at 12 p.m. W-G and Saydel will cap the day with a 2 p.m. contest.
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