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Tallmadge softball uses seventh-inning magic to defeat Aurora

Published: May 8, 2017 7:19 PM

With so many first-year varsity starters on the roster, there was a lot of questions about how the Tallmadge softball team could handle adversity.
With the postseason just around the corner, the answer has been rather clear.
Quite beautifully.
The host Lady Blue Devils scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to earn a hard-fought 5-4 victory over Aurora May 8.
With the win, Tallmadge improved to 17-4 overall and 10-1 in the Suburban League American Conference.
The Lady Blue Devils are scheduled to visit Highland May 9 in Granger Township. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m.
If Tallmadge beats the Lady Hornets, the Lady Blue Devils will claim their first American Conference championship outright. As of press time, Highland had two losses in the conference.
The Lady Blue Devils certainly had to sweat to hold off a very pesky Lady Greenmen squad.
Aurora took a 2-0 lead and then scored a run apiece in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, to take a 4-3 advantage.
But Tallmadge, which has had its share of comebacks in 2017, got the clutch hits it needed to increase its winning streak to 11 games.
Catcher Jordyn Severns got things started in the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff walk. She moved to second base on a wild pitch.
After Aurora right-hander Kelci Fleming got the next batter to fly out, left fielder Gia Spitali reached on an infield throwing error, which allowed Severns to score and Spitali to move to second.
Fleming got the next batter to ground out to third, but right-handed pitcher Emily Pratt, who was hitless in her previous three at bats, ended the game with a hard chopper past second base to drive in the winning run.
Pratt, who improved to 10-2 in the pitcher's circle, pitched all seven innings. She finished with five strikeouts and despite having a handful of full counts early in the game, did not walk a batter.
Fleming took the loss despite pitching all seven innings.
The Lady Greenmen struck first in the top of the third.
Second baseman Hailey Bodine and Fleming got things started with back-to-back one-out singles.
The next batter, shortstop Tyler Cassidy, hit a shallow fly ball to center that looked like it was going to drop.
But Lady Blue Devils' center fielder Autumn Malicoat sprinted full speed to make the catch at her ankles.
Tallmadge nearly got Bodine at the plate, but she just beat the throw and the run counted despite protests from the Lady Blue Devils' coaching staff that she left third base too early.
Fleming eventually scored the second run on a wild pitch.
Tallmadge came right back in the bottom of the third.
Designated player Madison Rearick led off the inning with a bunt single, but it looked like Fleming was going to escape any damage when she struck out the next two batters.
However, Spitali drew a walk and shortstop Alyssa Garbinsky following with a two-run single to center to tie the game.
Garbinsky wasn't done.
She added another two-out, run-scoring single to score first baseman Olivia Carey, who reached base on a double toward deep left, to give the Lady Blue Devils a 3-2 lead.
Unfortunately for Tallmadge, it's lead didn't stay safe for long.
Like the Lady Blue Devils, Aurora did its damage with two outs in the sixth and seventh.
Catcher Aleese Angelo drove in the tying run in the sixth with a hard-hit chopper past third base for a single. The hit scored third baseman Julia Mazanec, who reached on an infield error.
In the seventh, first baseman Maddy Bizjak led off the inning with a single to center. She was replaced by pinch runner Dylynn Lasky, who scored on Fleming's two-out bloop single to left.
Fleming finished with five strikeouts and three walks. She also hit a batter.
Shortstop Olivia Ayres had two singles for Tallmadge. All nine Lady Blue Devils in the batting order reached base.
Tallmadge stranded eight runners and was just 4 for 20 with runners on base. The Lady Blue Devils finished with nine hits and two errors.
The Lady Greenmen had six hits and one error.

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