Six in the sixth
UNION MILLS — Tony Wallace isn’t a vacuum cleaner connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination, but if Class A No. 8 South Central’s softball coach was, he would probably the name of his product after freshman third baseman Delanie Gale.
“If a company made a new vacuum cleaner, it would be named the Gale,” Wallace said Friday. “She’s just glue over there at third base. She’s got power with her bat, but she’s about as automatic as automatic can be there and with the way she plays, you wouldn’t think that she’s just a freshman.”
The freshman came up clutch not only with the glove — and her face after a tough grounder skipped off the bag and caught her in the jaw during the fourth inning — but cracked a game-tying two-run shot that left the yard in a hurry. The blast sparked a six-run, sixth-inning rally for the host Satellites (17-3) in their 7-3 Porter County Conference tournament quarterfinal win over Class A No. 2 Morgan Township (16-4). S.C. nipped the Cherokees 1-0 earlier in the season.
“When they took the lead, I got a little worried and I started to get anxious,” Gale said. “I was like, ‘OK, I have to do something. Somebody’s gotta do something and step up. It doesn’t have to be me, but somebody has to.’ So I was like, ‘I’ll just do it.’”
The Satellites drew first blood after going nine up and nine down against Esa Hill in the first three innings of play, manufacturing a run on Noveroske’s single to left that scored Biggs to make it 1-0. Morgan answered right back with three of its own in the fifth off a couple of defensive mental lapses from the Satellites that gave the Cherokees some extra outs. Hill, Ashley Bolen (2-for-3, RBI) and Emmy Wells all drove in runs in consecutive at-bats with a pair of singles and a groundout to Gale at third.
After the always-reliable Faith Biggs (1-for-3, walk, two runs) led the sixth off with a base hit to left field, Gale wasted no time in knotting the contest up at 3-3, driving the first pitch she saw from Hill over the fence in left.
Heidi Smith popped out to center following Gale’s homer, but Satellites starter Holly Noveroske reached on a two-base error, and S.C. made Morgan pay. Skyler Wildfong laced an RBI double into the gap to score Noveroske’s courtesy runner Ali Snyder to make it 4-3. Elle Kimmel reached with a soft hit down the right field line and two hitters later, Marissa Carr stuck the dagger in the Cherokees with a towering three-run moon shot to almost dead center to cap the massive sixth.
“When (Faith) gets on, we’re going to create runs,” Wallace said. “We have Delanie behind her, and Heidi, Holly, and even Skyler came through big time tonight with that hit to left center. You can’t forget about Marissa down at the bottom either. What a bomb. That definitely cleared by a good margin, maybe about 250 (feet). But you know what? Listening to them all in the dugout, they were never doubting themselves. They knew, ‘We got this.’”
Noveroske sat the visitors down in order in the top half of the seventh to cap a rather weird five-hitter for her that featured an unofficial count of eight “illegal pitches” called from the umpiring crew. Nine were called in the game, including one on Gale’s first hit of the game that moved Biggs from first to third base during the fourth.
“Holly was awesome,” Wallace said. “She really battled through all of those so-called illegal pitches and pitched great again for us. Two of them were on live plays in the field. She didn’t let that bother her and came up with a nice hit to score our first run, too. I’m proud of her and all of the girls. They really believe in themselves and it’s paying off for us. Out of my five years here, this is probably the best team I’ve had that’s this cohesive. They all get along and encourage each other all the time.”
S.C. hosts Boone Grove this morning at 10. The Satellites edged the Wolves 4-3 on Monday for the PCC round-robin title. The winner faces Kouts or Washington Township in the 1 p.m. final at LaCrosse.
Reach Michael Whitlow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (219) 214-4169. Follow him on Twitter @couldbelikemike.
Porter County Conference Tournament
South Central 7, Morgan Township 3
Marissa Carr and Delanie Gale each homered for the Satellites.