Trailing by a run early in the game, Swanton softball pushed across seven runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, then staved off Liberty Center late in an 8-6 win in a Division III sectional semifinal Monday at Swanton’s Memorial Park.
The Bulldogs now advance to the sectional final Thursday where they are at Genoa beginning at 5 p.m. They also have tied the school-record for wins, moving to 16-5 following the win over the Tigers.
“I love this team and the effort they put forth in practice and how it’s been carried over to the games,” said Swanton head coach Joe Nye. “Our team was ready and focused. Sophomore Kailey Brownfield made two great plays at second base to prevent them from scoring.”
Bulldog pitcher Brianna Williams helped herself out to begin the high-scoring bottom of the fourth, singling and then moving to second on an error. Trista Eitniear followed with a single, then the next hitter reached on a bunt-fielder’s choice after LC held the runner at third instead of going to first.
After a strikeout, Rachel Waszak’s RBI single tied the game at 2. The Dogs would take the lead, 3-2, on Alexis Sarvo’s infield single which plated Williams.
They then added three more on RBI hits from Kylie Ulch and Alexis Bergman, plus a sacrifice fly by Jessica Dohm. The Dogs scored what ended up being their final runs, when Ulch came home on a wild pitch and Williams’ double down the left field line made it an 8-2 game.
“We knew in the fourth that we had to start getting the bats going,” explained Nye. “Rachel Waszak, Kylie Ulch, Brie Williams and Alexis Sarvo all had key hits.
“We took advantage of some of their errors and then got key hits. We put pressure on their defense with our speed on the bases.”
Liberty Center was kept off the board in the fifth, but in the sixth, a hit and three Swanton errors allowed three runs to score, cutting the deficit to 8-5.
The Tigers got another back to start the seventh as Michaela Jeffers hammered a home run to left to lead off the frame. However, Williams struck out the next batter, then induced a pop up and fly to right field to end the game.
“Freshman pitcher Brie Williams hung tough in the seventh and finished out the game with some solid defense by Jessica Dohm and Alexis Bergman,” said Nye of the inning.
Whereas in years past the Dogs might have struggled to maintain an early lead like they held Monday, there is something different about this group.
“Our team has worked extremely hard and they have confidence in one another,” stated Nye on what makes this team special. “I love their excitement, especially after the game yesterday. They are constantly cheering and supporting one another.”
Swanton has a league makeup with Wauseon today at 4:30 p.m.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010