ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The softball game between Marion and Sacred Heart got off to a normal start last Tuesday.
It just never ended.
Or so it seemed. Actually, the Knights from Sacred Heart eventually prevailed, 4-3, but it took 15 long, grueling innings to happen.
Even more memorable, all-state pitcher Megan Moore pitched the entire game for the Warriors-180 pitches, including 22 strikeouts and only one walk.
“Megan pitched an incredible game,” coach Charlotte Waner said. “She really wanted that game, but we just came up short.”
The game was scoreless through the first three innings. But in the fourth, a one-out walk followed by a Warrior error placed runners on first and third.
The next Knight batter looped a soft liner into right field, giving Sacred Heart a 1-0 lead. One out later, two more runs scored and the Knights took a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Moore led off with a single. After Emmy Bowers walked, Nikki Moody hit an infield grounder that forced Richmond at third.
After Whitney Wear struck out for the second out of the inning, LeAnn Thomas walked to load the bases. Amber Richmond worked to a full count before drawing the walk and driving in courtesy runner Mindy Mastin with the run.
The Warriors came back to tie the game in the fifth on a two-run single by Wear.
“That really got us back into the game,” Waner said of the hit.
Though both teams had chances to score, neither team could until the top of the 15th.
With runners on first and second and no one out, the Knights executed a successful sacrifice. Moore then struck out her 22nd batter for the second out of the inning. But sophomore Steph Wittman’s clutch two-out double to right broke the 3-3 tie.
In Game 2, the Warriors didn’t leave anything to chance, jumping on the Knights early and often for an 11-3 victory.
“My girls decided they weren’t going to mess around in the second game,” Waner said. “They came out with a vengeance and just took it to them.”
Kara Holt pitched superbly for Marion after Moore essentially threw two games in the opener.
“Kara pitched really well,” Waner said. “We needed her because Megan threw so many pitches in the opener.”
With the split of the doubleheader, Marion improved its record to 6-2.