Big picture: Emmy Wells just didn’t want to let her team down.
Times No. 6 Morgan Township’s junior catcher came to the plate in the eighth inning of a tie game against No. 8 Andrean with two outs. Her teammates had just put two runs on the board to even a contest that was scoreless after seven frames.
Wells sat on a low and outside pitch, hoping pitcher Leah Navarro would put it in her wheelhouse.
Navarro did and Wells hit a line drive a couple feet over the fence just left of dead center field. The Cherokees walked off with a 3-2 win.
“I just did what I do and kind of let the practice take over,” said Wells, who has committed to the Northern Iowa softball team. “I believe it was a drop ball, maybe a drop curve. I was just thinking, ‘I’ve got to get a hit. I’ve got to do this for my team.’”
Andrean scored twice in its half of the eighth when Ashley Talaga and Karli Miller slapped consecutive doubles. Alyssa Graegin drove in Miller with a single.
“I told them we’ve been in this situation before, down, and we can score a lot of runs in one inning so don’t worry about it. Relax. Have fun and just do what you always do,” Cherokees coach Bob Madden said.
Senior pitcher Esa Hill struck out 11 hitters, going the distance for Morgan Twp.
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“It felt great. These girls showed a lot of maturity, hanging in there right until the very end,” Madden said. “That was a really good win to get.”
Turning point: Morgan Twp.’s Lanie Ruf tripled in Erin Hudkins and then scored on Ashley Bolen’s ground ball to Navarro. Navarro looked Ruf back to third and threw to first for the out, but Ruf beat a throw to the plate from Graegin to tie the game and give Morgan Township the momentum.
Andrean player of the game: Navarro — The sophomore went the distance and struck out seven. She gave up only two hits and three walks in her first seven innings pitched.
Morgan Township player of the game: Wells — She hit the game-winning home run after going hitless in three previous at-bats.
Quote: “(Hill) definitely has one of the most positive attitudes ever,” Wells said. “Even though (Andrean) just scored some runs, she was still optimistic and cheering everyone on, supporting her teammates.”
Beyond the box score: Andrean came into the game at 4-6 but it was 1-1 against in-state opponents. The 59ers won three of eight games in the Southern Warrior Classic in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Up next: Morton at Andrean (4-7), 11 a.m. Saturday; Morgan Twp. (3-1) at Wheeler, 10 a.m. Saturday.