UNION MILLS | A two-foot single with three gratis bases helped put an end to a 12-inning marathon Tuesday that featured its share of bizarre happenings.
Westville escaped with a 9-7 victory over host and defending-champion South Central in a Class A sectional semifinal.
The game lasted more than three hours. S.C.'s field doesn't have lights, so athletic director Dan Klimczak postponed the second semifinal between Triton and Culver Community to 4:30 p.m. today. The championship will be played at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
"I told our girls all season that each run is very important," Westville coach Mark Dineen said. "It was a back-and-forth game. You didn't know what to expect."
One of the last unexpected results came from McKenzi Gardner. Hitless in five previous at-bats, Gardner punched an 0-2 pitch barely in front of home plate to begin the 12th. What started out as an infield single, turned into much more as the throw to first base sailed into right field. Gardner didn't hesitate around second base, and the relay throw to third was also wide -- allowing the freshman to score the go-ahead run.
"I was just trying to hustle," Gardner said of the play. "I didn't think I was going to make it at third.
"I was just excited to give our team the lead."
This was just one of several odd occurrences, almost all happening in the final couple of frames.
S.C.'s Sarah Denham led off the eighth inning with a fly to left field, which was misplayed. She forced a throw to second base, and was called out, then safe, by the base umpire. Satellites coach Patrick Fuller argued twice, directly after the play and subsequently at the end of the frame. He was ejected after the second meeting.
Gardner hit into a force play at second base in the ninth, then she made the final out at the same base trying to catch the S.C. defense napping.
Both starting pitchers Beth Piotrowski (Westville) and Madisyn Walter (South Central) went the distance.
Krysten Wilson led the Blackhawks (18-8), going 3-for-6 with a two RBIs and a run scored. South Central's Mikayla Eaton was 3-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored.
Gardner is just glad the team gets an extra-day off.
"That will give us another good night's sleep," she said. "We'll have a chance to recharge our batteries."