Wolters' walk-off homer keeps Vikings in league title contention
It’s an opportunity players both fear and dream about: stepping up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, down by one with a runner on first.
At the very least, Avery Wolters just needed to get on base, but in the back of her mind, she would’ve known a home run could secure the win.
She chose the latter, sending the ball sailing over the left field fence. Meghan Winston, who singled just moments before, crossed the plate as the rest of their teammates began pouring out of the dugout to welcome Wolters home.
“It’s everyting to me, I love these competitive games. They’re my whole life and it’s so amazing, especially being here with my team, we all work so hard at it,” Wolters said. “Throughout the whole game, everybody was doing their part, so just to be able to finish it off feels amazing.”
The Marysville softball team defeated St. Clair 7-6 Thursday afternoon, keeping the Vikings in league title contention as they handed the Saints their first loss in MAC-White play.
“It feels great,” Wolters said. “They’re a competitive team, we’re rivals in every sport, so to just even it out in the league, now we can come back.”
Competitive would certainly describe Thursday’s back-and-forth game. Marysville led 3-0 after the first, but St. Clair stole all momentum as Erin Seros, who singled to lead off, was sent home by Payton Malcom’s double. From there the Saints took over a 4-3.
Maddie Cole stole home in the top of the fourth to extend the Saints’ lead 5-3, and after three quick outs, things were looking good for St. Clair.
But in the bottom of the fifth, Avery Woodard singled to spark new life in the Vikings’ lineup and they tied the game 5-5 with another hit from Winston and a sacrifice bunt from Wolters, who ended up on second due to an error.
“It’s little nerve-racking [to pitch in a close game], but I have a lot of faith in my team at the plate,” sophomore pitcher Ryan Quain said. “I feel like they never let me down, we never let each other down. It’d be really easy to get down when St. Clair had the big inning, but I was able to count on my team to score runs.”
Hadley Schwarz had an RBI single to steal back the Saints’ lead in the top of the sixth, setting Wolters up for her heroic homer in the bottom of the seventh.
“It was a back-and-forth game where every out and every run mattered,” Marysville head coach Ryan Rathje said. “They were able to get a run the inning before, so we knew we had to get a base runner and Meghan found a way to get on base and Avery knocked her in…That was a cool way to end it, definitely an exciting game.”
Quain earned the win on the mound, pitching all seven innings with six strikeouts. She, along with Winston and Woodard, also each recorded two hits to lead the Vikings offensively. Cole led St. Clair with a 2-for-3 performance to score two runs.
The Vikings are now 12-4 overall and 4-1 within the MAC-White. St. Clair is tied for first in the league standings with Utica at 6-1. The two local rivals will play again in St. Clair on May 22, and could possibly play a third time in the district tournament.
“This just shows we can rise to the occasion even when we get down,” Wolters said. “Nothing’s going to stop us.”
For in-game updates and other news, follow Calli on Twitter @ newberry_calli
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