May 14—In a back-and-forth Northern Lakes League softball battle Thursday night at Anthony Wayne, Springfield broke a tie with a two-out, three-run rally in the sixth inning to take a 9-6 victory, and end the host Generals’ 21-game winning streak.
Sophomore lefty Mady Yackee was not particularly sharp in the pitching circle for the Blue Devils (22-3 overall, 10-1 NLL), who are ranked No. 7 in the latest Ohio Division I state coaches poll.
But she was effective enough to get the complete-game win, and also delivered the game’s key blow at the plate in the top of the sixth inning.
After Springfield’s Audrey Miller reached on a two-out bunt single on a close play at first, Courtnee Chappetta drew a walk from AW pitcher Brooklyn Patchen. Yackee followed with an opposite-field double down the left-field line to score both runners for an 8-6 Devils lead.
P.J. Turner ripped a single to center to score Yackee with the game’s final run.
“I knew we had to produce [offensively],” Yackee said. “It didn’t have to be anything hard. I just had to punch the ball where I needed to.
“It was an outside pitch and I drove it. I thought [the AW left fielder] was going to catch it, but I just kept running. Our offense was amazing today. We never got down on ourselves. We kept chipping away.”
Eighth-ranked Anthony Wayne (21-2, 10-1) got a leadoff single from Abby Meyer in the bottom of the sixth, but Yackee retired the next three hitters. Yackee walked AW’s Trinity Nowicki (2-for-2, double, 3 RBIs) to start the bottom of the seventh, but once again buckled down to get the next three Generals to close out the win.
The teams will be at it again Friday at Springfield at 5 p.m. in a makeup game with first place — and maybe ultimately the NLL title — on the line.
“This was a just classic heavyweight title bout, and it was nothing new,” Springfield coach Rob Gwozdz said. “It’s been going on [against AW] for my 20 years here.
“It was big. If we fall two games behind, it’s over. Losing to Perrysburg [1-0 on Tuesday] shows how tough this league is. Perrysburg did their job and beat us, and we came back today and responded.”
The back-to-back AW-Springfield games are makeups for contests postponed earlier in the season.
After Friday’s battle, Springfield’s final two NLL games are at Southview on Monday and at home against Napoleon on Thursday. AW is set to play at Perrysburg on Monday, and will face Napoleon at home on Wednesday.
“Springfield is a great team,” AW coach Ron Myers said. “They have a lot of talent there, and we have a lot of talent. This game was worth the price of admission. We came out and battled, and they came out and battled. They had some calls go their way, and they came out on top tonight.
“We’re going to come back tomorrow and battle again. Softball is a game of failure, but we’re going to battle as hard as we can. We knew coming into this [back-to-back games] that we needed to win one of two.”
The Generals, who had not lost since their season opener on March 27, 10-9 at Mason, scored first.
Emily Liskai doubled to left field in the first inning and subsequently scored on Nowicki’s single to left.
Springfield answered with three runs in the top of the second, when the Blue Devils chased AW’s starting pitcher Lauren Curry, who walked three batters in the inning, and yielded a single to Taylor Bombick. Curry was replaced by Patchen after facing just 10 batters, throwing only 19 of her 42 pitches for strikes.
The Generals scored a run in the bottom of the second without the benefit of a hit, using a walk and two Springfield errors to get within 3-2.
The Blue Devils added three runs to take a 6-2 edge in the third. Maddie Darrah singled, Anessa Morgan was hit by a pitch, AW pitched in with a throwing error by catcher Nowicki, Sydney Schwieterman had an RBI on a bunt single, and Bombick scored a run on a squeeze bunt.
The Generals rallied to tie the game at 6-6 with two runs in both the third and fourth innings.
Kennedy Cowan led of the third with a double, scored on Curry’s sacrifice fly, and Patchen had an RBI single. In the fourth, Liskai had a single and Nowicki a two-run double.
Patchen had retired nine straight batters before Meyer’s bunt single in the sixth.
“Both teams got breaks, both teams made mistakes, and it came down to a little bit of clutch hitting,” Gwozdz said. “That was the difference. But, that’s a tough team over there.”
Yackee, who threw 69 of her 123 pitches for strikes, struck out five AW batters.
“I just felt like I had to trust my defense to make plays for me and, if I spotted the ball where I needed to, that they defense would do the job,” Yackee said.