The 2012 Wayne County Women’s Softball League Championship Tournament was anything but predictable.
What was originally slated to be an 8-team double-elimination series held over two days at Bingham Park, turned into a 4-team event compressed into one day.
There were supposed to be five teams, but before any pitches were tossed, Laurensen’s Ladybugs were forced to forfeit to Elegante due a lack of players. This pitted Cherry Ridge Veternary Clinic against Elegante while Cora’s faced The Crossroads in the first round.
Having lost their first-round games, Elegante met Crossroads in the next round but were defeated, forcing them out of the playoffs. Cora’s then handed CRVC their first loss in the following game which led to a Crossroads/Cherry Ridge match-up to see who would rest in third place and who would next face the Bistro Beavers.
Backs to the Wall
Each facing elimination, CVRC’s Becky Loring took to the mound to battle against the ladies of the Crossroads who placed Amy Corey on the mound to deliver their pitches.
Neither team managed to push runners past third base during the first three innings.
Anticipation would build as runners reached scoring position and then quickly fade when the opposing defense sprang to life. Finally in the fourth, Carley Gustin hit into a 2-out fielder’s choice, driving in Nicki Malloy before she could be tagged out at first.
The call was questioned, but the run stood giving CVRC a 1-0 lead going into the 5th.
Loring would hold The Crossroads scoreless for another three outs, then her team turned up the heat adding three more runs before a grounder ended the scoring spree.
The sixth inning saw The Crossroads place runners into scoring position several times only to fall victim to Cherry Ridge’s Gold Glove defense. CVRC also went scoreless in the sixth while their second baseman, Lori Curtis, suffered a game-ending ankle injury.
In the top of the seventh, with two outs, an error on a single allowed The Crossroads to get into scoring position. However, a groundout forced the batter and ended Crossroads chances to advance, giving Loring a shutout and a 4-0 win for Cherry Ridge.
In the End
CVRC’s win set up an interesting situation.
Cora’s was coming into the game somewhat rested and unbeaten. A Cherry Ridge win would force a doubleheader, but a loss would send them packing.
“We’re just going to give it everything we have in this game.” Loring stated before starting her third game. “Jenn Pritchard pitched the first game of the day, but had to leave. I’m holding up. Cora’s hit hard to left and to third base in our earlier game, so that’s where we have to watch.”
She was facing Megan Fuller, pitching for the Beavers.
Cherry Ridge was first up but failed to score any runs. Cora’s didn’t fare any better as deep hit fly-outs with runners on base ended the chances for both teams.
Carley Gustin and Sue Dutton scored for CVRC in the second, while Courtney Roche drove in one run for Cora’s.
The Beavers began to gnaw away Cherry Ridge in the third, holding them scoreless before launching an offensive assault led by Brighid Bauer’s one-out double.
Carly Savastano would follow with a single, advancing Bauer to third base before they were both driven in by a double from Leah Simko. Simko herself was then batted in by Roche as she tallied up her second RBI of the game before the Beavers finally would be halted.
Now up 4-2, Fuller blanked Cherry Ridge in the top of the fourth, but was repaid in kind by Loring who delivered a 1-2-3 inning, coldly shutting down the Beavers’ bats in the bottom of the inning.
The fifth inning saw neither side put any player around all four bags. Fuller gave up a single and a walk but hot handed fielding from Roche and Heather Rieman kept Cherry Ridge down.
Offensively, the Beavers didn’t muster much to match CVRC. Singles from Bauer and Savastano put the Beavers on bags, but Loring was still going strong, delivering strikes and letting her fielders pick-off Cora’s players en route to base.
CVRC’s Lindsey Dirlam and Carley Gustin were left stranded on base in the 6th and all the Beavers could bring was a double from Roche.
Down by two, Cherry Ridge needed to rally and Sue Dutton led the charge with a lead-off single. She was then driven in by Carli Curtis, closing the gap, but it wasn’t enough.
With two outs and the winning runs on base, Cora’s defense proved too tough as fielder’s choice to first base ended the game, giving the Bistro Beavers the win and the championship.
“We really didn’t expect to win the tournament let alone go through the whole thing without losing a game,” remarked Cora’s coach, Stacy Grund.
“We’re all here to have a good time, but we have some younger members who are here for the competition as well. That’s definitely what’s helped us today.”
Third Place Game:
XRDS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0
CVRC 0 0 0 1 3 0 x - 4
CVRC 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 - 3
Cora’s 0 1 3 0 0 0 x - 4