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Keith walk-off helps Geneva softball beat North

GENEVA – Having a short memory paid heroic dividends for Geneva senior Madison Keith on the softball diamond Friday evening.

Blocking out her other three at-bats for the day – a sacrifice bunt and two strikeouts – Keith ripped a 3-1 fastball into left-center for a Viking walk-off, 5-4 victory over St. Charles North in a Upstate Eight Conference River Division game. Keith’s two-out single plated Rylie Porretto, who had doubled to right-center with one out in the final frame.

“I forgot about my other at-bats and wanted to do what I could to help the team,” Keith said.

Keith said the hard-fought victory was a great boost for the squad.

“We did what we needed to do,” she said. “I give [ North] all the credit. They played great. Both teams played amazing.”

North Stars coach Tom Poulin didn’t have the same opinion of his squad, feeling his team had some opportunities defensively to get outs that they didn’t take advantage of.

“I thought a couple of times we didn’t make plays that we should have,” Poulin said. “They were the same plays we have been making all year.”

Geneva broke out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second, batting around in the inning. Kate Geary had the big hit, a two-run double to left-center. Sarah Baurer drove Geary in with a base hit to left field later in the inning.

The North Stars (19-5, 14-4 UEC River) bounced back with a three-spot in the top of the third, led by a two-run double off the bat of Kaitlyn Waslawski after pitches hit the first two batters. After being sacrificed to third, Waslawski scored on Abby Howlett’s infield single off the glove of Geneva pitcher Rachel Fanella.

With three runs in, two runners aboard, and only one out, Fanella was able to get out of the inning with a fielder’s choice on a close play at third and a ground out to third.

Geneva coach Greg Dierks said getting out of that jam with the score tied was a huge moment in the game.

“I thought it was big that we were able to stay at only three runs for them in that inning,” Dierks said.

He was proud with the effort his team put forth in the squad’s second annual Breast Cancer Awareness game with the North Stars.

“They showed a lot of enthusiasm and fight,” Dierks said.

Rylie Porretto, whose one-out double in the seventh set the stage for Keith’s game-winning heroics said the Vikings (17-7, 13-5) bounced back well after their loss to Batavia on Thursday.

“We were devastated after losing to Batavia,” Porretto said. “We used that to build on today. We never gave up.”

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