Wildcats outslug Cadets

WATERFORD – Pinch runner Ashley Dawson scored the winning run on an error as the Waterford Lady Wildcats put together a pair of rallies to score a thrilling 8-7 victory Tuesday evening over the Fort Frye Lady Cadets.

With the bases loaded and one out in the final inning, Waterford junior Samantha Armstrong hit a comebacker to Fort Frye pitcher Jada Baker, whose throw to home plate got away from Cadet catcher Tanner Booth as Dawson raced home with the winning run.

The dramatic finish capped a Waterford comeback that saw the Lady Wildcats erase a 5-0 Fort Frye lead by scoring six times in the fourth inning.

“Our kids just battled and battled and fought back and came up with some key hits,” said Waterford head coach Doug Baldwin. “We made some mistakes early on but then we played well and put the ball in play when we needed to and made some plays. It took a total team effort to win.”

Early on it appeared the Lady Cadets were going to score a lopsided victory as they scored a pair of runs in both the first and third innings and a solo run in the top of the fourth to take a 5-0 lead.

Run-scoring doubles by Booth and Chelsey Snodgrass accounted for the first two Fort Frye runs while an infield groundout by Mikaela Dyar and an RBI-single by Snodgrass in the third increased their lead to 4-0.

Booth collected her second RBI of the game in the fourth when she delivered a two-out, bad-hop base hit to score Divinity Neihart with the fifth run of the game.

Waterford had collected just three base hits against Baker in the first three innings before sending 11 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the fourth to score six times to take the lead.

Katie Wagner got the inning started by reaching on an error and Paige McCutcheon followed with a double.

A infield ground out by Denise Young got the first run of the game in for the Lady’Cats before Bailey Offenberger, Abby Huffman and Melanie Radabaugh followed with base hits to plate another run and load the bases for lead-off batter Taylor Jordan.

Jordan cleared the bases with a three-run double into the gap in left center field and just like that the Wildcats had tied the game at 5-5.

Wagner put the Wildcats in front with a solid single to right field.

Fort Frye evened things back up in the fifth inning on a Rylee Zimmer sacrifice fly and regained the lead in the top of the sixth on a single by Mya Sauls and a run-scoring double by Dyar.

Waterford starting pitcher Emma Baldwin did her job by retiring the Cadets in order in the top of the seventh to set up the dramatic finish for the Wildcats.

McCutcheon and Young got things started with base hits for the white and green before Offenberger bounced out on a fielders choice.

Huffman’s single brought in Young with the tying run and Radabaugh’s bunt single loaded the bases, setting the stage for Armstrong’s ground ball that led to the Wildcat victory.

Baldwin collected the win by striking out seven while Baker suffered the loss despite fanning eight Wildcat batters.

“We just can’t seem to get over the hump,” said first-year Cadet head coach Stacy Fleming. “We just seem to have one bad inning that does us in. We just have to keep working hard and eventually things will turn around for us.”

Fort Frye slipped to 1-6 with the loss while the young Wildcats improved to 3-4 with the big win.

“Our kids work hard every single day and I think we can surprise some people the second time around,” said Baldwin. “Our kids are getting better everyday.”

Both teams are right back in action today as Waterford hosts Belpre and the Cadets welcome Warren.