GENEVA – With one swing of the bat, Geneva first baseman Annika Radabaugh broke both a tie and record Wednesday afternoon.
Not only did Radabaugh’s leadoff home run in the bottom of the sixth, her ninth of the season, put the Geneva softball team ahead of Elgin but it set a new mark for most home runs in a season by a Viking softball player.
The blast over the left field fence proved to be the decisive run on senior day, as Geneva won the Upstate Eight Conference River Divison game, 5-4.
A freshman, Radabaugh did not realize at first that she had hit a home run
“I was running to second and heard them coming out [of the dugout], so that’s when I realized it,” Radabaugh said. “I was just focusing on getting a hit.”
Not just any hit, as it turned out.
“That’s nine home runs for her this year, the most we have ever had in a season,” Geneva coach Greg Dierks said. “And it was a game winner, too. We needed every run we got today.”
Four times, Geneva (19-11, 10-8 UEC River) scored runs with just one hit.
Kaitlyn Plocinski and Madison Keith also hit solo home runs. Plocinski put Geneva ahead 1-0 in the first with her drive and Keith extended the lead to 2-0 in the second with her center field blast.
Sarah Baurer opened the third with a triple to right and scored when the throw to third got past Elgin’s third baseman.
Elgin (13-18, 9-9) tied the game at 3-all in the fifth. The Maroons loaded the bases on two Geneva errors and a fielder's choice.
Dierks replaced starting pitcher Rachel Fanella with Emily Plocinski to face Elgin’s ninth-place hitter, starting pitcher Jenna Lombardo. Plocinski retired Lombardo for the second out but then gave up a bases-clearing single to leadoff batter Anna Eckholm.
“The top of their order in particular is really dangerous,” Dierks said. “They’ve got some really good hitters, so it’s hard to get through a whole game without giving up some runs to them.”
Geneva briefly retook the lead in their half of the inning, when a Kaitlyn Plocinski double plated Anna Geary.
The Maroons retied the game at four in the sixth. Jennah Perryman, who opened the inning with a single, scored on Destiny West’s groundout.
After Radabaugh’s home run, Jessica Rago replaced Lombardo in the circle.
“We tried to stay in the game until the end,” Elgin coach Nick Bumbales said. "Maybe a hit or two too late to get her [Lombardo] out of the game, but we battled. I was happy with that.”
The Vikings had opportunities to widen their lead in the third and fourth but could not cash in, leaving runners in scoring position in both innings.
“We got off to a pretty good start swinging the bats but we did not execute well,” Dierks said.
“We had a runner on third and nobody out and didn’t score a run. Someone on second with nobody out and didn’t score. If we had manufactured those runs, 7-4 going into the last inning would be little easier to deal with.”