Western Wayne's varsity softball team nearly defeated archrival Honesdale in a Division II battle
Western Wayne came within a whisker of it biggest softball victory in several years Monday night.
The Lady 'Cats traveled to Honesdale for a Lackawanna League Division II battle with the Hornets and ... for five full innings ... appeared destined for yet another lopsided loss.
However, in the top of the sixth, something clicked. A light went on. A corner was turned.
Over the course of those final two frames, Western Wayne looked more like a bona fide title contender than a cellar dweller.
The Lady 'Cats scored three times off one of the area's top pitchers and had the potential tying run on base when Honesdale finally recorded the last out of a wild 4-3 game.
"We struggled in our first two games and that's to be expected with such a young team," rookie head coach Chase Smith said. "But, we played extremely well here today. I'm very proud of these girls."
Western Wayne is now 0-3 on the season, but the Lady 'Cats gave local fans a glimpse of what promises to be a very bright future.
"I'm really excited to see what they can do," Coach Smith said. "There aren't any seniors on our roster, so all of these girls will be back. I think we're definitely making positive strides and moving in the right direction."
Weather permitting, Western Wayne will be back on the diamond Wednesday afternoon for a crossover contest versus Scranton Prep.
First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. in Varden.
Emily Levison drew the starting nod for the Lady 'Cats and worked two solid innings before running into trouble.
The sophomore righty allowed three runs in the bottom of the third with the middle of the Hornet line-up doing the majority of damage.
Junior shortstop Stacey Hart ripped a two run double to put her team on the board. Senior catcher Mackenzie Dirlam followed with an RBI single and suddenly Honesdale had itself a 3-0 cushion.
Megan Benson ignited a second rally two innings later. The Red & Black's speedy lead-off batter laced a double to left center, then alertly continued on to third when the relay throw got loose.
Jackie Gallik plated Benson, dropped down a perfect bunt and earned herself an RBI when she beat the throw to first for an infield single.
Honesdale starter Faith Decker cruised through the first five frames and seemed on her way to a shutout.
That all changed in the top of the sixth when Western Wayne's bats came to life.
Freshman lead-off hitter Kiana Sauter reached base on a fielder's choice then moved into scoring position on groundout.
Moments later, Sauter sprinted home when junior shortstop Rachel Carmody smoked an RBI double up the alley in right center.
"Rachel is definitely one of our team leaders," Coach Smith said. "She takes charge in the field and swings the bat really well. When Rachel is aggressive at the plate, she hits it hard and good things happen."
Levison took care of business in the home half of the sixth, closing out her best mound performance of the young season.
Emily worked six innings and allowed four earned runs. She struck out four, issued three walks and earned high marks from her skipper.
"All I ever want from Emily is for her to go out there and throw strikes," Coach Smith said. "I really don't want her to walk anyone or strike anybody out. When Emily throws strikes and uses her defense, we can compete."
Western Wayne proved the truth of that assertion by nearly rallying to win the game in the top of the seventh.
Decker opened the frame with a strikeout, but then surrendered consecutive singles to Kristin Thorpe and Levison.
Two batters later, Michaela Zdiarski came through with a clutch basehit. Another talented freshman, Zdiarski roped a single to left which plated both runners and whittled Honesdale's lead to one run.
"We haven't had that many hits yet this year, but Michaela has a couple of them," Coach Smith said. "I told Michaela that I wanted her to go up there and swing from the heels. She was aggressive and made something great happen."
Unfortunately for a big contingent of Lady 'Cat fans on hand, Decker bore down and recorded the final out for a razor-thin 4-3 win.
"I know we lost, but I'm still very happy," Coach Smith said. "Honesdale is a good team and we battled them right down to the wire. I think the future is looking pretty bright."
Score by Innings...
WW (0-3) 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 - 3
HON(3-1) 0 0 3 0 1 0 x - 4