The Northwestern Trojans stormed back from a one-run deficit to push across six runs in the sixth inning to come away with a 7-2 softball victory over the visiting Spring Valley Vikings on Wednesday afternoon.
With the win the Trojans secured the Region 3-4A softball championship. Northwestern (20-4) will be on the road Saturday to take on the winner of Boiling Springs and Blythewood in Upper State playoff action. Spring Valley’s season ends at 16-8.
Trojans pitcher Kori Wancheck, who finished with 10 strikeouts, was breezing along with 1-0 lead entering the sixth inning but Vikings hurler Anna Davis deposited a two-run homer over the fence to give her team a one-run advantage. But the lead was short-lived.
In the bottom of the frame Wancheck reached base on a walk and was replaced on the base paths by courtesy runner Labresha Whitlock. Annie Green’s bunt attempt was mishandled by the Spring Valley third baseman putting runners on first and second. Green was later tagged out on infield grounder to second by Tiana Lewter who proceeded to steal second putting Northwestern runners on second and third.
Trojans senior Lorna Day followed with a clutch double to the gap in right center field that plated Whitlock and Lewter and enabled the Trojans to regain the lead 3-2.
“Actually I am proud of myself,” said Day, smiling, during the post-game celebration. “I knew we had to get a run and I was just waiting to see what (Davis) would throw. (The hit) felt good when I hit it. And when one of us gets a hit it motivates everyone else to get a hit.”
And Day was very accurate on her assessment as Northwestern was not done yet. A single by Delia Fields and a walk to Cassie Wancheck loaded the bases for the Trojans. Daina Chase then promptly sent all three runners across the plate as she split the gap in right center with a booming triple that vaulted the hosts to a comfortable 6-2 lead.
“I had been dropping my hands and couldn’t get on base earlier, “said Chase. “But I took out my anger on that ball because of my previous at bats. Our team is a family and we never get down on each other.” The final run of the inning came on a single to center by Rachel Marion to account for the final 7-2 score. Marion had given the Trojans a first inning 1-0 lead when she singled home Cassie Wancheck who had been hit by a pitch and stole second.
Kori Wancheck was dominating early as she sat down the first 11 batters she faced and fanned five of the first six batters before the visitors broke up her perfect game on a double to left center by Brittany Evans. Kori Wancheck finished the game with a three-hitter.
Northwestern coach Bryan Smith was proud of the way his team fought back.
“I told the girls that if you were going to end somebody’s season you got to take it,” Smith said. “(Spring Valley) really battled. I brought the team together (after falling behind) and told them we needed to make adjustments (at the plate) and hit the ball to the right side. These kids are very coachable and they made those adjustments. Lorna and Daina got big hits to right.”
Northwestern 7, Spring Valley 2
WP –Kori Wancheck LP- Anna Davis
Leading Hitters: SV – Anna Davis 1-3, HR, 2 rbi; Brittany Evans 1-3, 2b; Cameron Cooper 1-2.
N – Rachel Marion 2-3, 2 rbi; Kori Wancheck 1-4; Cassie Wancheck 1-2; Tianna Lewter 1-3; Lorna Day 2-3, 2b, 2 rbi; Delia Fields 1-3; Daina Chase 1-3, 3b, 3 rbi.