|WW softball team claims second sectional title in three years|
Due to a rain-out in Thursday’s Class A softball sectional at Springs Valley, West Washington found themselves with a double-header to take part in.
The first was the business of winning the sectional championship, 6-3, over Trinity Lutheran. The second, was the graduation of four seniors later that night.
“I had parents and players calling and texting mad about the game being moved to Friday,” said Senator Head Coach Michael Long. “We didn’t want to play the same day of graduation and I really could see it had an affect on our focus.”
Long said he feels like the lack of focus wasn’t the cause for the tightness of game.
“I think it was nerves more than anything,” he said. “The extra day to wait, made me more nervous and a couple of the players said the same thing.”
There didn’t seem to be nerves early in the contest as West Washington’s Shelby Springer reached based on a bloop single and then scored when Chelsea Thompson doubled to deep left field.
Thompson’s hit gave her team a 1-0 advantage and that was good enough until Trinity Lutheran’s Natalie Plofkin hit a solo homerun to tie the score.
That’s where the score remained until the bottom of the fifth inning when Trinity went up 2-1 after Mandan Langley scored on a double off the bat of Kathy Wright.
Trailing 2-1, West Washington didn’t waste any time getting control of the game back.
Springer led off with a single and advanced when Thompson reached base on an error.
Springer scored off a double off the bat of Eden Tuttle.
Thompson moved to third on the play, but ended up missing a signal getting thrown out at the plate.
Stephenson got the hit that scored Tuttle, putting her team back in front, 3-2.
Trinity answered to tie the score in the bottom of the sixth inning when they tied the score at 3-all.
Adrienne Hoar walked to start the inning and scored on a hit by Carrie Miller.
The Lady Senators’ biggest hit in the inning came when Sizemore reached base on an error by the Trinity second baseman, which scored two more runs.
Sizemore’s hit gave West Washington a 6-3 lead.
Stephenson allowed the lead-off runner on in the bottom of the seventh, but then retired the next three batters she faced.
It’s the second softball championship in three years by the Lady Senators.
Long said he was glad his had a battle-tested slinger like Stephenson.
“There were a lot of nerves,” Long said. “Our pitcher (Stephenson) won a championship as a freshman and she is very skilled at pitching through the ups and downs of a game. It’s why we stick with her. If you try to take her out of a game like that she will throw a fit! My hat is off to her for toughing it out. Trinity battled and made her pitch count go up, but she hung in there.”
This was third straight year Stephenson got the ball in a sectional title game.
“I was nervous,” she said, “because we really wanted to get this done for the seniors and we were excited about playing. I know I pitched, but really the credit goes to our defense. I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to play defense behind me. They are some awesome defenders.”
Springer, who wasn’t part of the team that won the sectional in 2012, because she took a year off of softball was glad she decided to continue playing.
“It’s an amazing feeling and I have to say it’s about dang time,” Springer said. “We were due for one. I am ecstatic about it.”
Springer, who lost her father in a car accident earlier in the season, seemed to steer the conversation away from that, but her coach didn’t.
Long said he was glad he could play a small part in helping send her out as a sectional champion.
“This is one is more emotional (than the one in 2012),” Long said. “I mean for Shelby Springer, losing her dad early in the season – this is a kid who is a phenomenal athlete, but has not won a sectional in any sport. This was her last shot and it feels good to be the coach to help her accomplish that. Her dad’s parents were here and it was a great day.”
Long said Springer and the other seniors, Miller, Sizemore and Tuttle helped lay the groundwork to one of the more successful softball programs in the area.
“This is our fourth year in a row playing for a sectional championship,” he said. “The first was when I was an assistant and we have two sectional championships in the last three years. It means a lot and now when people play West Washington in softball, they know we are going to be a handful.”
The Lady Senators will play another one of the more successful teams in the area in the Lady Braves of Borden.
Borden finished the season with an 18-3 record and WW was 15-6. The game was Tuesday night in Campbellsburg.
The winner of that game will play the winner of the Indianapolis Lutheran-Clay City game Saturday at North Daviess.