Late-inning drama goes way of Wildcats in Softball Sunday split
By SCOTT WARD
GREELEY -- There were 84 hits and 64 runs scored this weekend between Northern Colorado's and Weber State's softball teams at Butler-Hancock Softball Field.
But the biggest moment of the entire four-game series, which concluded Sunday with the Bears winning 13-6 and falling 3-1, might just have come in an at-bat in the seventh inning of the fourth game that didn't end with either of those results.
Let's set the stage.
After Weber State (12-20, 2-2 PCSC) turned a one-run lead in the third inning into a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth, Northern Colorado (17-17, 2-2) rallied and nearly earned a dramatic walk-off win after loading the bases with just one out in the seventh.
Flynn and Marcovecchio then advanced a base on a wild pitch and were the lead runners in a bases-loaded, one-out situation when Erin Geddis drew a walk in a nine pitch at-bat that put the winning run in the batter's box.
Alex Neely got first dibs at being the hero, and she singled up the middle, scoring Flynn.
Junior-transfer Lindsey Smith got the next call, and she strode to the plate with a team-leading six home runs on her resume this season and four previous hits on the day.
After falling in a 1-2 hole against Weber State starter Sarah Clark 11-6) Smith extended the at-bat for seven more pitches, hitting a couple balls right on the nose but foul and sending a dart down the left-field foul line that hit Marcovecchio, who was standing on third and was eventually able to "rub it off."
Smith got into a full-count situation on Clark's seventh pitch and fouled off the next two balls.
Clark got Smith to swing at what might have been ball four, and Smith missed, putting Weber State an out away from the series split.
Mikayla Duffy, who started in the circle for the Bears and was solid for six innings but was credited with the loss (5-8) then struck out looking on a 2-2 fastball, and that was the end of the game.
Smith finished 4-for-6 on the day with six RBIs, and Duffy was 5-of-12 for the series with two runs scored. If Montgomery got to pick players to take swings in that situation, it likely would have been Smith and Duffy.
"That at-bat was epic," Northern Colorado coach Mark Montgomery said. "I'm not really sure how else to put it. Both players really elevated their games in that situation. It was fun to watch, but I wish our girls could have come out on top.
"We're so young—I emphasize that all the time nowadays—and we're still trying to learn from these sorts of situations. For some this was their first PCSC games; their first times being down like that late; or whatever. We've got to continue to grow and mature and get these experiences out of the way."
The dramatic finish put an exclamation point on an offensive four-game series that started PCSC play for both teams.
Weber State won the first and last games, with the Bears claiming wins in games two and three, including a 13-6 win in the first game Sunday.
Northern Colorado led 11-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth before Weber State scored two in the the fifth to extend the game. Northern Colorado extended its lead to 13-5 in the seventh to help ensure at least a series split.
Freshman Kelci Cheney (6-4) pitched 5 1/3 innings in the first game Sunday, and Duffy followed with a "whale of game" in the second game, according to Montgomery.
QUICK RECAP: Northern Colorado (17-17, 2-2 PCSC) cruised to a 13-6 in game one Sunday before falling just short in the second game, losing 3-1 in a pitchers' duel … Freshman Kelci Cheney pitched 5 1/3 innings in the first game for her sixth win of the season … Mikayla Duffy surrendered just two runs in six innings in the second game but fell to 5-8 this season … The Bears led 11-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth before Weber State scored two in the bottom of the fifth to extend the game … Northern Colorado extended its lead to 13-5 in the seventh to help ensure a series split … Weber State (12-20, 2-2) turned a one-run lead in the third inning into a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth … The Bears loaded the bases with one out in the seventh but couldn't complete the comeback after Lindsey Smith and Mikayla Duffy both struck out.