Maidens Softball Sweep Hawley for District Championship
The Haskell Maidens traveled to face the Hawley Lady Bearcats in a defensive battle, Friday, in the last game of district play. Both teams were 8-1 in district, thus this game would determine the District Championship. Haskell had defeated Hawley at home in the first half of district and Albany upset Haskell in the second round of district, giving each team one loss. For the 10 veteran Maidens, this game had to seem like âdÃ©jÃ vuâ, because this two teams were in the same set up when they faced off last year in the second half of district at Hawley. In that unforgettable game, the Maidens were making a comeback in the top of the 6th when the skies opened up and the rain started coming down in sheets. The game was âcalledâ and the Maidens went down 4-2, landing them in a tough playoff bracket. But not today. With a strong north wind and no rain in the forecast the Maidens jumped out loud and proud from the dugout scoring two runs in the first inning. Leadoff batter, Senior, Krysta Winegeart reached 1st on an error, stole 2nd, and reached 3rd on a passed ball setting her up in scoring position. Seniors Laura Fuentes, Kelsey Guzman and Freshman Lolo Alexander reached 1st on walks. Bearcat Pitcher, Marissa Hall over threw 3rd in an attempt to pick off Winegeart so Winegeart scored Haskellâs first run of the game setting up Fuentes in scoring position at 3rd. While Alexander was at bat, Fuentes delay stole home making the score 2-0 Maidens.
The next 4 Â½ innings were scoreless as Hall frustrated the Maidens with 12 strikeouts in the game. The Maidens reached 1st 3 more times with walks and a hit by Alexander, but left those runners stranded. In return, Maiden pitcher, Laura Fuentes hit her spots fearlessly leading the Maidens with 9 strikeouts and no walks, holding Hawley to 5 hits, yet those baserunners were stranded as the Maiden defense held tight with 11 putouts.
Finally, in the bottom of the 6th, Hawley capitalized on two rare Maiden outfield errors in the high wind, scoring one run, but right fielder, sophomore, Areli Torres recovered throwing the ball to freshman shortstop Landry Hanson for the tagout at 2B, followed by a flyball catch by Hanson, ending the 6th.
Top of the 7th, with 2 outs, Maiden Seniors stepped up to the plate for the 4th time. Winegeart got revenge for the line drive error that came her way in LF in the 6th, and hit a LF line drive of her own that baffled Hawley leftfielder stretching Winegeartâs advance to 3B and scoring position. Next, Senior, Gabby Mendoza was under pressure at the plate. With two strikeouts and a walk, Hall had frustrated Mendoza with several popup foul tips. First pitch was a popup again, but the second pitch connected with a centerfield fly ball double that scored Winegeart and set the Maidens up 3-1 to hold tight one more half inning. And âhold tightâ they did. Hawley managed one more hit, but with 3 strikeouts the district championship was in the books. Final score: Haskell 3, Hawley 1.
Coach Foster, Coach Martinez and their Maidens had worked all year for this rematch knowing that Hallâs high speed rise ball would be a challenge for them. Thus they had to play clean defense, capitalize on Hawleyâs errors, and base run aggressively if they got the chance and with 7 stolen bases this is exactly what they did. This is the 8th Maiden Softball District Championship in 13 years. The Maidens will face Seymour in the Bi-district Series this weekend with Game 1 on Thursday at 6pm in Seymour and games 2,3 on Saturday at 7pm in Haskell. Letâs fill the stands and the outfield with some good small town entertainment as we support our Maidens in this Bi-district playoff round. There will be no gate fee required at either game.