WAPAKONETA — The Minster softball team never said die.
The Wildcats scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to keep their tournament alive and then clinched the Division IV district title in bizarre fashion in the bottom of the ninth for a 6-5 victory over the Crestview Knights at Wapakoneta on Friday.
While trying to intentionally walk Michaela Goettemoeller in the ninth, Crestview was called for an illegal pitch, which allowed the winning run to score. The issue involved the catcher’s positioning on the intentional walk.
“Our catcher has to be down and then call for the outside pitch,” Crestview head coach Carl Etzler said. “When she stood up she was outside the box, but that is on me. It is not on the pitcher or catcher.”
“I noticed on the first pitch that she was close (to an illegal pitch),” Minster head coach Scott Robinson said. “If she did it again I was going to ask the umpire about it. He caught it right away. I saw him watching her on the first pitch because she did get a little lazy on it. I hate to see a game end like this between two good teams, but we will take it.”
Minster (24-3) advances to the regional tournament at Tipp City once again after a year hiatus. The Wildcats will play Franklin, who defeated Ft. Loramie 6-3, next Thursday in a 5 p.m. semifinal game.
Marissa Conrad was the hitting hero for the Wildcats as she was three for five with a triple, two singles while driving in three runs.
“Conrad has had a great year for us,” Robinson said. “There are a lot of great players in the MAC and if Kayla (Richard) wouldn’t have had such a great season you could almost give the player of the year to Marissa. She is batting close to .600 right now and at this time of year is when she is at her hottest. She also got the big hit for us in the third and without that hit we don’t score three or four runs.”
In the bottom of the ninth Kirsten Hicks took over for Terra Crowle in the pitcher’s circlefor the Knights. After a strikeout, Kayla Richard reached on an error and Rachel Heckaman was hit by a pitch.
Conrad lined out to third, but when the third baseman threw high to second Richard advanced to third and Heckaman advanced to second. With an open base Crestview decided to intentionally walk Goettemoeller but on the second pitch Hicks was called for a catcher’s balk allowing Conrad to score the winning run.
Before getting to the ninth inning the Wildcats had to tie the game with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
With one out, Heckaman singled up the middle and went to second on a wild pitch. She scored the tying run when Conrad reached on an error. Conrad was stranded on third and the game went to extra innings.