Updated Sat, May 3, 2014 11:50 pm
The air was electric in Ohio Softball Field as Adrienne Gebele took the plate for Ohio in the bottom of the seventh inning. And, even though the game lay on her shoulders, she wasn’t nervous. She just did what she has done all season for her team and got a hit that put the whole crowd on their feet.
Gebele stepped up and hit a walk-off two-run homer to seal the Bobcats’ 6-4 win over Western Michigan on Friday to gift Ohio the first game of the doubleheader.
After each team recorded a hit in the first at-bat, the home crowd knew it was in for an exciting game and it became a long day for each team’s pitcher.
“I like the phrase ‘go right at them’,” Dorsey said in relation to her pitching approach. “Even if we’re facing good hitters, you can’t avoid the zone. So I still go at the zone and trust my pitches are going to break away from them.”
Dorsey surrendered the first run of the game, hitting a batter and walking two more to load the bases with one out. The next Broncos batter hit a tricky fly ball that evaded two Bobcat defenders and landed within the left infield to score the first run.
But, Ohio (27-22, 11-6) quickly closed out the inning as Gebele snagged a strong right field blast to end Western Michigan’s (16-32, 7-12) half of the inning.
Gebele came to her team’s aid once again during the ensuing Bobcat at-bat and ripped a strong double through center field to record Ohio’s second hit of the game. More were to come as Madison Claytor hit a slow single down the middle to get Gebele to third.
Claytor then stole second after a Dakota Pyles out to bring Alyssa Wolfe to the plate. The center fielder fired a blast down the center to bring home Gebele and Claytor and give Ohio its first lead of the game at 2-1 in the bottom of the second inning.
After a few more Bobcat hits, a high throw by the Broncos scored Taylor Saxton to make it 3-1 in favor of Ohio.
The Bobcats added another in the bottom of the fifth from a Casie Hutchinson solo homer that sent the home fans into a frenzy.
Bronco Ivy Schaaf smacked a hard shot to the outfield wall and, after a couple bounces, the ball rolled past the wall for a three-run homer to bring jubilation to the traveling Broncos’ delegation and tie the score at 4-4 heading into the bottom of the sixth.
The energy within the field switched from excited to nervous as the crowd feared a late-game collapse. However, Gebele brought smiles back to the Bobcat faithful’s faces as her homer saw yet another game swing in favor of Ohio due to her efforts.
“I just wanted to do it for our team,” Gebele said. “I’m just happy I could pull it out for our team.”
If the first game was a test to see who could get the most hits, then the second was meant to prove which team could handle the most pressure without it’s defense cracking. Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, they broke under the pressure and dropped the second game 4-0 to split the series.
It seemed a pitching battle from the beginning, with both teams switching pitchers to give their starting pitchers some rest. That brought Lauren McClary to the mound and put the game on her shoulders.
In most respects, she didn't disappoint, and kept batters on their toes throughout most of the game. But, McClary did show signs of slowing when she grabbed her left shoulder after certain pitches. It all came to a head in the top of the fifth.
First a right field blast earned a double for Western Michigan (17-32, 8-13) and put runners at second and third. That set the stage for a left field single, a popular choice for the Broncos, to score the first run of the game before McClary struck out the next batter.
It didn’t end there, as Western Michigan further exploited the left field gap with the bases loaded to score two more runs in the top of the sixth. McClary did well to strike out batters and earn outs along the way, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Broncos off the board for the inning.
Western Michigan then sealed the game with a solo homer on the first pitch of the seventh inning to claim the second game of the double header.