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Wellman’s walk-off single rallies Timberwolves past Knights 10-9

March 26, 2019

SPRING VALLEY — Spring Valley’s 10-9 high school softball victory Monday night over Cabell Midland was a testament to power and perseverance.

The Timberwolves (3-3) smacked three home runs to rally from two deficits and three ties to defeat the Knights (5-2) in extra innings.

The game entered the eighth inning tied 8-8. Cabell Midland took a 9-8 lead when Jenna Dorsey hit a two-out homer to left-center field. Spring Valley won it in the bottom of the inning as mist and darkness fell. Freshman Emma Sowder led off with an infield single and advanced to second base when Gracie Edwards reached on an error. Jewell Williamson also reached on an error to load the bases.

Sophie Wellman followed with a hard smash off the gloves of third baseman Jaelyn Lowe and shortstop Sydney Chapman to score Sowder and Edwards, ending the high-scoring contest and giving the Timberwolves their first victory over Cabell Midland in three years.

“We worked for that one,” said a relieved Spring Valley coach Scott Adkins. “We started four freshmen and they stepped up Everybody played well and they had to. Cabell Midland’s a great team and they hit the ball. They hit and field well. We had a strategy for them and it worked.”

A key part of that strategy was not to pitch to slugging first baseman Rielly Lucas, whom the Timberwolves intentionally walked five times. Lucas was not happy with having the bat taken from her hands, but Adkins said the walks were out of fear of her powerful bat.

“That was out of respect for her,” Adkins said of walking Lucas. “She’s a big hitter and the situations came up where we could walk her. I know some people don’t like that, but it’s what we had to do.”

The Knights produced plenty even with Lucas not registering an official at-bat. Dorsey was 4-for-4 with a run batted in. Gracie Hightower went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Kirya Kingery went 2-for-4 and scored twice. Situational hitting was troublesome, however, as Cabell Midland left 12 runners on base.

Spring Valley displayed plenty of hitting of its own to make a winner of pitcher Bryn Osburn. Edwards went 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs. Jewell Williamson was 2-for-4 with a homer and drove in two runs. Wellman went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs.

“I knew I had to be super-focused and put the ball in play,” Wellman said of her winning hit.

The junior catcher said her home run, a third-inning solo shot directly after Williamson’s two-run blast, was sparked by her teammate.

“When Jewell hit hers, it gave me motivation to hit one out,” Wellman said, smiling. “I got my weight back and just hit it.”

Spring Valley also benefited from strong defense. In the seventh, with Hightower at third base, Sowder made a diving catch of a ball off the bat of Mikayla Ferguson not only to prevent Hightower from scoring, but threw to third to double off the runner. Freshman Sydney Wright and senior shortstop Riley Shirkey also made plays to help Spring Valley out of jams.

Hightower turned in a defensive gem of her own when she robbed Shirkey of a home run to straight-away center field in the first inning.

Spring Valley returns to action at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Wyoming East. Cabell MIdland entertains George Washington at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.