GENEVA – A four-run sixth inning lifted the Geneva softball team to a 6-5 victory Friday against Upstate Eight Conference foe Bartlett.
Keyed by a two-run double by Rylie Porretto, the Vikings had their first five hitters in the inning reach base and turned a 5-2 deficit into the final margin.
“With no outs, I was looking for something outside that I could hit to the right side,” said Porretto, a right-handed hitter. “The first pitch was inside, so I took it. The second pitch was out there and I was able to drive it.”
Annika Radabaugh, who reached base safely in all three of her at-bats (single, triple and walk), started the Vikings’ big inning with a walk. She moved to third on Kaitlyn Plocinski’s double, and scored on Madison Keith’s fielder’s choice.
On Keith’s grounder, Plocinski got caught in a run-down, but was able to dive back into second without being tagged.
Molly Wrenn then singled off the glove of Bartlett’s shortstop to score Plocinski and pulling Geneva (4-1, 2-0 UEC River) to within one run, bringing Porretto to the plate with still no one out in the inning.
“I was very excited to get the hit,” Porretto said. “I was trying to help my teammates who were working hard trying to get us back in the game.”
Geneva coach Greg Dierks had pulled his squad together before the bottom of the sixth.
“I told them, ‘Let’s make these last six outs the toughest six outs to get,’ ” Dierks said.
His talk worked so well, Geneva did not even need its three outs in the seventh.
Dierks said rallying to beat a strong team like Bartlett (7-3-1, 2-1 UEC Valley) was quite an accomplishment.
“We haven’t beaten them for a couple of years,” Dierks said. “It keeps us unbeaten in conference.”
Bartlett had a four-run rally of its own in the top of the fourth inning. Aided by two Geneva errors, Bartlett sent nine hitters to the plate.
“I told them we need to shorten those four-run innings,” Dierks said. “Better defense shortens that inning by a run or two.”
The Vikings committed four errors on the day, a fact Dierks blamed at least partially on the extremely windy conditions.
“I think the weather helped both teams [on offense],” Dierks said. “Both teams allowed some runs with costly mistakes.”
Taking a lead into the seventh, Geneva pitcher Emily Plocinski retired the Hawks in order with some help from her defense.
Third baseman Wrenn made a nice running catch for Geneva on a pop fly down the third base line to retire Bartlett’s leadoff hitter in the inning, Alyssa Nowak. Then, after Plocinski got Bartlett’s Amber Pagan to ground out to second, Geneva shortstop Anna Geary made a diving catch to record the final out.
“I thought Emily had a really nice showing for us,” Dierks said.
Plocinski allowed Bartlett only one hit after the fourth inning and kept the Hawks off the scoreboard.