TURBOTVILLE — Warrior Run coach Garth Watson smiles when you mention the international rule used to settle extra inning games in softball.
Central Columbia coach Duane Karchner might grit his teeth.
For the second time this season, the Defenders topped the Blue Jays in extra innings using a score in the 10th inning via the international rule. The final was 1-0. On April 10, the Defenders, now 20-2, beat the Jays 3-0. In 11 innings.
Friday’s win at the Moser Complex sent the second-seeded Defenders into today’s District 4 Class AAA finals against Bloomsburg, a 16-3 winner over top-seeded Loyalsock.
Under the international rule, after nine innings, a runner is placed on second and the team tries to score her.
Junior hurler Madi Waltman set the Jays down in the top of the inning, the Defenders pushed across the winning run. With Gracy Beachel running, Waltman pushed her to third on a bunt. Then Marissa Pick hit a slow grounder to third and Beachel scored on an overthrow.
“I don’t mind winning that way. When both teams put a runner on second base it’s a case of execution. We were able to do it and they weren’t,” Watson said.
Karchner said there was some consideration of walking the bases loaded. “But that puts a lot of pressure on the pitcher and she’s just a freshman. It was just a tough loss — they are a very good team. It was 11 innings the first time, 10 innings this time. Who knows what the next game will be.”
Watson praised Waltman. “She pitched out of a couple of jams to get us to that point. There’s not much to say. They just didn’t want to lose today.”
Waltman said the Defenders were confident after holding Central scoreless in the 10th. “We know who we are. We’re a very gritty team. We love each other, we’re a close-knit team. When I went into the dugout they knew I was up. They said, ‘you got it.’ They told me to believe in myself.”
Central (which finished 18-4) came close to scoring in the sixth. After two outs, an outfield error put Mia Cunningham on second. Jordan Morris singled to center but Cunningham was cut down at the plate with a perfect throw from Hannah Michael to catcher Jade Swartz.
Cunningham barreled over Swartz but the catcher held on to the ball for the third out. After the hit in the sixth, Waltman sat the Jays down in order the rest of the way.
Of Michael’s throw, Waltman said, “She works so hard and she doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to do things like that because the ball isn’t hit that often off of me. She came up big tonight.”
Pitching is generally the key to winning in softball and both teams had that Friday.
Maea Consentino allowed only one hit, Swartz’s single in the third. She fanned 18 and walked one. Waltman hurled her eighth straight shutout and 15th of the year. She allowed three hits, fanned 10 and walked a pair.
District 4 Class 3A semifinal
At Moser Complex, Turbotville
Warrior Run 1, Central Columbia 0 (10 inn.)
Central Col. 000000 000 0 — 0-3-1
Warrior Run 000000 000 1 — 1-1-1
Mea Consentino and Madison Kester; Madi Waltman and Jade Swartz.
WP: Waltman; LP: Consentino.
Central Columbia hitters: Sam McGinness, 2 singles; Morgan Mungo, single.
Warrior Run hitters: Swartz, single.