Late rally sneaks Windber past Tussey Mountain in 5-2A playoffs
May 26—WINDBER — Freshman shortstop Kaylie Gaye sprinted home from third on a bases-loaded passed ball to cap off an improbable rally by Windber in Thursday's District 6 Class 2A softball semifinal playoff game as the Ramblers came up with three runs after two out in the bottom of the seventh inning to pull out a 7-6 victory over visiting Tussey Mountain.
"We had a couple close games this season where we were up and ended up losing in the seventh inning," said Windber coach Kayla McMunn. "The tables turned in our favor this game."
After Skylee Miller's one-out double and a subsequent error put runners at the corners, Windber was down to its final out when Gaye reached on an infield single to drive in pinch runner Layla Gray and pull the Ramblers within one. Summer Campbell then lined a single to left for her with her first hit of the game to score Angel James with the tying run, and a walk to Aaliyah James then loaded the bases.
Gaye then dashed home for the game-winner to propel the second-seeded Ramblers (11-8) into the district title contest next Wednesday against top-seeded Everett.
"When we came into that last inning only down by two, I couldn't have had any more confidence in my teammates," said Gaye.
"When I was on third base and saw that ball roll away, I knew that I would be able to score, and it's an amazing feeling ."
"Some of our power hitters were pulling their heads and swinging for the fence, but I told them all we needed were base hits in the grass to win the game, and that's what happened," added McMunn.
In addition to scoring the winning run, Gaye finished 3-for-4 at the plate and knocked in three runs for host Windber.
Tussey Mountain (6-8) was in command early, as Titan pitcher Alayna Clark held Windber to just one hit through the first four innings, during which her squad opened up a 5-1 advantage.
However, despite outhitting the Ramblers 10-7 and drawing eight bases on balls, Tussey Mountain failed to capitalize on opportunities to tack on what would have been needed insurance runs.
"That last out was a tough one to get," said Titans coach Kevin Reed.
"Give Windber all the credit. They fought back and never gave up.
"We left a lot of runners in scoring position, and you can't do that against a good team."
Breanna Goodman's run-scoring single opened the scoring for the Titans, and in the second inning, Alayna Clark's bases-loaded single added another run for Tussey Mountain before Goodman's sacrifice fly made it 3-0.
Windber tallied an unearned run in the bottom of the third when Lindsey Custer drew a leadoff walk and later came home when Angel James reached on an error.
Tussey Mountain added single runs in the next two frames on Goodman's second hit of the day that scored Cara Benton, and Benton's subsequent sacrifice fly drove in Elaina Woomer.
Windber got back into the game with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Miller's two-out double was followed by a walk and Nici Costlow's RBI single.
Gaye then lined a base hit to center that plated two more runs and pulled Windber within 5-4.
"We kept coming back and never stopped fighting," Gaye said.
The Titans answered in the top of the sixth when Adyson Weyandt led off with a single, stole second, and scored on Aubree Weaver's sacrifice fly.
Back-to-back singles gave Tussey Mountain a chance to keep the inning going, but Windber pitcher Miller worked out of the jam.
The Titans left two more runners stranded in the seventh to set the stage for the dramatic finish.
"This is awesome, we didn't expect to be in a championship game with such a young team," said McMunn.
"Everything else is a bonus after this. It's just going to come down to whoever shows up to play that day."
"We play amazing as a team together," said Gaye.
"And now we're going to have a shot to win a championship, it's so awesome for our team and our community."