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A Sydney Kovalyak 2-out single drove home the game's winning run for Ridgway softball in a 3-2 victory against Kane Thursday afternoon at Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School.
Jenni Thomas scored from second as Kovalyak singled into left field for the walk-off victory. Thomas reached as she hit a ball up the middle which could not be fielded cleanly. Thomas had enough speed to reach first base and then went to second on a wild pitch.
"We were aggressive on the bases when we got on and took advantage of getting someone to second," Ridgway coach Gary Gerber II said. "I'm very pleased with the way they played. Overall, that was probably one of our best games of the season. Syd came through when we needed her. Lean on your seniors."
Kane opened the scoring in the third inning. Niki Sluga walked to lead off the inning, one of 10 free passes the Lady Wolves drew at the plate. Haylee Walters then walked to put two runners on and Daria Huckabone reached on an error to load the bases. Kyla Hoag hit into a fielder's choice to record the out at home which still left the bases loaded. Kaila Jamerson hit a grounder to first for an out but Walters scored from third for the game's first run.
Ridgway answered in the home half of the third to tie the game. Thomas walked to lead off the inning and then stole second. Kovaylak singled to move Thomas to third with no one out. Thomas would eventually dash home on a wild pitch to tie the game as Hoag would go to strike out the next three hitters as part of a 15-strikeout afternoon for the Kane starting pitcher.
Ridgway took the lead in the fourth inning when Jenna Hoffman singled to right field to score Morgan Herzing from second base. Herzing walked to lead off the inning.
"It was a pitcher's duel," Gerber II said. "We hit in the clutch. Taylor did well. Overall, the defense played well throwing runners out stealing bases. No big innings, no big errors."
Kane answered with a single run in the fifth inning. Huckabone reached on a fielder's choice. After Hoag walked, Huckabone was able to score from third on a steal play to tie the game at 2-all.
The Lady Wolves had more chances on the basepaths throughout the game but had four baserunners thrown out on the bases which disrupted momentum throughout the game.
Cheyenne Wheatley led off the second inning with a walk but was ruled out as she was ruled to have taken a turn toward second after stopping at first while the softball was in the pitcher's circle. Ridgway erased a 1-out walk from Tristan Hillman as Hillman was thrown out at second on a steal attempt. A leadoff walk from Walters turned out to be for naught as she was thrown out at the plate in the fifth inning trying to score on the fielder's choice from Huckabone. Wheatley was out trying to steal second in the sixth. Kane coach Judy Kessler thought the baserunning was a determining factor in the outcome.
"We made way too many baserunning mistakes, not stealing second when we should have, going second to third, stopping halfway," Kessler said. "Running from third to home. Stopping on a bag and then taking a couple of steps to second on a walk, we just ran ourselves right out of this.
"Kyla's pitching, she had 15 strikeouts so my kids had to make how many plays? We didn't do it. Our bats didn't do it," Kessler said. "We were swinging at stuff we shouldn't have been swinging at. Unfortunately, we did enough wrong that it didn't counterbalance the good stuff and you're going to lose a game like that.
"We had opportunities to score and we didn't because we didn't play smart. They earned the win because we didn't."
Ridgway starting pitcher Taylor Roseto limited the Lady Wolves to one hit for the game, a single from Hillman in the sixth inning. She struck out nine for Ridgway.
For Kane, Walters walked in all three of her plate appearances while Hoag and Wheatley each finished with two free passes.
Kovalyak was 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI.
Ridgway is scheduled to play at Cameron County for a 4 p.m. game Monday. Kane is scheduled to host Port Allegany at 4:15 p.m. this afternoon.
Kane AB R H BI
Daria Huckabone 4 1 0 0
Kyla Hoag 2 0 0 0
Kaila Jamerson 3 0 0 1
Sam Ferranto 4 0 0 0
Cheyenne Wheatley 1 0 0 0
Tristan Hillman 2 0 1 0
Angie Geer 2 0 0 0
Niki Sluga 2 0 0 0
Haylee Walters 0 1 0 0
Totals 20 2 1 1
HBP: Hillman. SB: Hoag 3, Walters 2.
Ridgway AB R H BI
Jenni Thomas 3 2 0 0
Sydney Kovalyak 4 0 2 1
Melissa Wehler 3 0 0 0
Ashley Viglione 3 0 0 0
Sam Kovalyak 2 0 0 0
Morgan Herzing 2 1 0 0
Paige Grazioli 2 0 0 0
Sierra Kos 2 0 0 0
Jenna Hoffman 3 0 1 1
Totals 24 3 3 2
HBP: Sa. Kovalyak. SB: Thomas.
Kane 001 010 0 - 2 1 1
Ridgway 001 100 1 - 3 3 1
Kane IP H R BB K
Hoag 6.2 3 3 2 15
Ridgway IP H R BB K
Roseto 7 1 2 10 9