Windsor edges FHS for Tri-Rivers softball title

Published 11:41 am Thursday, May 21, 2009

After recently pounding Franklin High School in a softball doubleheader, Windsor High School had to go extra innings Tuesday to beat the Lady Broncos in the Tri-Rivers District softball tournament. MacKenzie Allen cracked a walk off RBI single with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Lady Dukes 6-5.

By finishing first in the TRD regular season, Windsor will open the Group A Region A playoffs at home at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday against Nandua. Franklin also secured a spot in the regional tournament with its 9-8 win over Sussex Central in the first round of the district tournament on Monday. The Lady Broncos will travel to Arcadia on Tuesday for a first round game.

Windsor led 3-0 going in the fifth inning, but Franklin plated two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Just when it looked like Franklin had made a comeback, Windsor (13-6) took a 5-2 lead when Traci Butler banged out a two-out, two-run single to left field.

Scrappy Franklin was not done. The Lady Broncos scored three runs in the top of the sixth, which featured some sloppy play by Windsor, to tie the game at 5-5. Franklin’s Rachel Sing led off the inning with a bunt single. A ground out by Courtney Thompson moved Sing to second. Windsor pitcher Tiffany Rapp struck out Mercedes Williams, but catcher Chelsea Cahalan dropped the third strike, putting runners on first and third. Sing then scored on a passed ball, which also moved Thompson to third.

Cleotia Hicks followed with an infield single to score Thompson. Franklin tied the game at 5-5 when Hicks scored all the way from first when Cahalan threw the ball into the outfield on a steal.

But the scoring was over for Franklin (4-12). Rapp struck out the side in the seventh and eighth innings. “She battled back. She struggled in spots but she was clutch for us,” said Windsor head coach Chuck Parish.

The Lady Dukes came through in the eighth. With the bases loaded and one out, Allen lined a ball to left field passed a diving Hicks at third base to drive in Brittany Oliver for the game winner. Oliver had singled to right center earlier in the inning.

Parish was impressed by Franklin’s play.

“We made a few mistakes, but let’s give credit where credit is due. Franklin came out and played a great softball game. They got after it for eight innings and those kids left it on the field.”

“They came out today and they played with heart, which is something they haven’t been doing all season,” said Shonna Rawlings, Franklin head coach. “They rose to the occasion.”

Parish said he was happy to see his team scratch out the win, particularly right before the regionals.

“Our kids battled, and that’s what we wanted to see going into the regional playoffs. Are we going to quit, or are we going to play?” he said.

Parish said Nandua, out of the Eastern Shore District, will be a tough opponent.

“I heard they have good pitching, play good defense, and hit the ball well. All eight teams that are in here now are pretty good so everybody you play is ‘come on let’s go.’ You got to get after it.”