Oak Glen advances in dramatic fashion
NEW MANCHESTER — Oak Glen came from behind in the bottom of the seventh with Amber Moore getting a walk-off single up the middle to score Eileen Flowers with the winning run in a decisive 7-6 victory over Fairmont Senior on Tuesday.
The win was the second in a best-of-three play-in series with the Polar Bears in the Class AA Region 1, Section 1 softball tournament. It put Oak Glen, the fourth seed, in another three-game series beginning at 5 p.m. today at No. 1 seed North Marion.
The No. 2 seed, Weir High, hosts No. 3 seed East Fairmont today in the other section semifinal also in the best-of-three format. The two winners will meet later this week to determine the section champions. However, both of those teams will move to the Region 1 tournament in different brackets.
“Coming back the way we did with strong play, credit these girls. They love to play together,” said Oak Glen first-year coach Sherrie Garner, whose club now moves on with a record of 12-13. “I’m very proud of them.”
The game was in contrast to the doubleheader played Monday that saw both teams score a lot of runs while splitting the pair.
“This game definitely was middle ground, and my girls had to come to fight and they did,” Garner said. “I told them to come today with a good attitude, and they came ready to play. They wanted to keep playing. They enjoy the game of softball, enjoy being together, and I enjoy being with them.”
Senior pitcher Alyssa Creese set the tone early, blanking Fairmont Senior through the first five innings on just one hit. By the time the Polar Bears got to the third time around in the batting order, though, they caught on with five runs scored in the top of the sixth to take a 5-3 lead.
The Golden Bears responded with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 5, but Fairmont Senior scratched out a run off relief pitcher Janaya Montgomery in the top of the seventh. With their backs to the wall, the Oak Glen girls went to work.
Aiden Hall started the bottom of the seventh with a single. Eileen Flowers scooted into second with a double when she hit a short bloop to right field that bounced away from right fielder McKayla Lilly. Hall scored on Lilly’s throwing error trying to get her at third base.
Shortstop Brittney Georgini laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Flowers to third base from where she scored when Amber Moore laced a single up the middle.
“We had errors at the wrong time tonight,” said Fairmont Senior first-year coach Bob Raymond, whose club finishes the season at 7-13. “When we’re hitting the ball, we can play with anybody. The miscues hit us hard, but my girls played hard.
“Compared to the records our teams had the past few years, we improved by leaps and bounds, and I feel pretty good about that. We only have one senior, our catcher Anna Runyan. We’ll miss her, but I have a girl to replace her next year. We’ll be ready next year.”
The Golden Bears plated two runs in the first inning when Hannah Patterson led off with a single up the middle, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Creese and scored on another hit to center by Hannah Walker, who then scored all the way from first when Alexa Andrews drove a double to the fence in right-center field.
The Bears were credited with four hits in the fifth but scored only one run to take a 3-0 lead into the final two innings. Creese started it with a single but was erased when Lilly pegged her out trying to get to second base on Walker’s short single to right field. Walker went to second on a Hall single to short left field, and she raced home on a Flowers single to right field.
Walker led the 13-hit Oak Glen attack with two singles, a double and three runs batted in. Hall singled and doubled. Flowers and Moore each singled twice.
Garner said her charges are familiar with North Marion since they traveled to Marion County early in the season to play in the Diamond Glove Tournament. Oak Glen beat Braxton County in the first game of a doubleheader but lost 14-6 to the Huskies, who are 14-6-1 and are riding a six-game winning streak.
Oak Glen 7 Fairmont Senior 6
Fairmont Senior 0-0-0 0-0-5 1 — 6 5 2
Oak Glen 2-0-0 0-1-2 2 — 7 13 3
FAIRMONT SENIOR (7-13): L. Runyan (LP, 6+IP, 13H, 2K, 1W) and A. Runyan.
OAK GLEN (12-13): Creese (6IP, 3K, 2W, 5ER), Montgomery (WP, 1IP, 2W, 1K, 1ER) and Walker.
TWO OR MORE HITS: Fairmont Senior (Snoderly 2); Oak Glen (Walker 3, Hall 2, Flowers 2, Moore 2). DOUBLES: Fairmont Senior (Snoderly, L. Runyan, Banks); Oak Glen (Walker, Andrews, Flowers). TRIPLES: Fairmont Senior nine; Oak Glen none. HOME RUNS: Fairmont Senior none; Oak Glen none. RBIs: Fairmont Senior (L. Runyan 3, Allard, Banks); Oak Glen (Walker 3, Andrews, Flowers, Moore).