The Wapakoneta Redskins varsity softball team found itself in a tough spot. It was the bottom of the third inning, and they were trailing the Celina Bulldogs by seven runs.
Add to that, the Redskins have only beaten the Bulldogs once in the last four years.
Add the added pressure that if the Redskins lose this game, their tournament life is over.
Not a problem.
Scoring six runs in the third inning and the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, the Redskins came back from a 7-0 deficit to defeat Celina, 11-8.
"It's like we need two innings under our belt to play the softball that we know how," Wapakoneta varsity coach Bill Sammons said. "When they start playing with a chip on their shoulder, they finally start playing."
And they did — playing with a vengeance. The scoring began in the first inning when senior shortstop Amy Hume scored from third base on a wild pitch. Then senior catcher Kati Sawmiller hit a single that scored senior third baseman Ashlie Cox to make the score 7-2.
Alexis Schwartz then added a 2-RBI single in the same inning. Then senior second baseman Carli Sammons wanted a piece of that, and hit a 2 RBI single herself.
At the end of the inning, the Redskins were loud, back in the game and trailing by one, 7-6.
"We hit the ball, we put the ball in play and I knew we were going to score runs," Sammons said. "It's just that we gotta continue with our defense to get better."
After a tumultuous first two innings, where Celina scored one run in the first inning and six in the second, the defense stepped it up for the Redskins, allowing only one run in the next five innings.
After shutting down the Bulldogs in the top of the fourth inning, Staci Miller drove an RBI single into the green to tie the game at 7.
"Celina is a great team, an amazing team,” Sammons said. “It was a tough game, 7-0, to battle back like that, I think that's one of the biggest comebacks in postseason history for us.”
From the mound, junior starting pitcher Renee Lovett found herself in a little jam in the fifth inning. She gave up a run and had the bases loaded with the heart of the Celina order up. She got out of the jam with minimal damage, and the Redskins needed another run.
In the bottom of the fifth with the bases loaded and one out, senior right fielder Kristi Bailey came to bat for the Redskins. She hit a ground ball back to the pitcher. The pitcher got the force at home and the catcher attempted to get Bailey at first, the throw was in time, but bounced off the first-baseman's glove.
The runner that was on second scored on the error, and the ball trickled to the second baseman. The runner from first base attempted to take home as well, but was gunned down by the second baseman. 1-2-E3-4-2. Wapak scored the tying run, but Celina got the two outs to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth, the Redskins again took care of business defensively, and Celina wasn't able to get the go-ahead run.
Bottom of the sixth inning rolls around and Schwartz ripped an RBI double to the outfield for the go-ahead, and eventually game-winning, run.
"That's why we have her hitting, and we have her hitting as much as we can," Sammons said.
Schwartz had three RBIs on the day, including the game winner. After the game, she was all smiles.
"It was just the mentality, you just keep your head up, and know that you are going to win," Schwartz said.
Lovett, despite pitching 45 pitches in the first two innings, stayed focused and pitched the complete game.
"Renee continues to win the pitch," Sammons said. "It's frustrating as a pitcher when you have so many errors behind you, but she just stayed focussed."
Sammons said it was nice to get a win over Celina, since the Redskins were 1-8 against them in the last four years.
"It was really nice to get over this hump, especially with these seniors," Sammons said.
Wapakoneta now advances to the Miller City district, where they will play Tuesday against the Maumee Panthers in their first game
"I am so excited to play somebody who is not is the WBL,” Sammons said, “let's put it that way.”
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