FARMINGDALE — It was a scene that was played and replayed six times on a softball field Tuesday afternoon. Winthrop pitcher Krissy Doughty entered the circle, quickly got into trouble and then deftly found her way out of it.
Doughty’s tap-dancing routine not only gave the Ramblers a 5-1 win over Hall-Dale in a game Winthrop was out-hit, 10-6, it also put the Ramblers in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game Wednesday against Madison. That game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Thomas College.
“I just focus on the batter and go after her with full force,” Doughty said. “I let my infield do the work, and they got it done tonight.”
Hall-Dale and Winthrop both finish the regular season at 12-4. According to Winthrop coach Bob Ouellette, the MVC championship game participants are chosen by record, not Heal points, and Winthrop has the tie-breaker because Tuesday was the only time the teams met this season. Madison is 15-1.
Five of the Ramblers’ six hits came in the top of the second inning, although a couple of those could have been scored as errors. Two runs scored when the Bulldogs made two errors on one play, another scored on an RBI single by Kaleigh Obert, and the last two came home when catcher Cat Ouellette doubled to left field.
“I’ll take it,” Coach Ouellette said. “We’ve lost our share of games this year on the other side of that coin.”
Winthrop did not have a hit after Cat Ouellette’s double, but the Ramblers held onto their lead despite Hall-Dale threatening in almost every inning. Aside from the third, when they went down in order, the Bulldogs had at least two baserunners in every inning.
Emma Begin had three hits and Olivia Maynard added two, but Hall-Dale left 13 runners on base. The Bulldogs also had three runners cut down at the plate — two on force plays with the bases loaded, and another when Cat Ouellette grabbed a potential wild pitch and fired to Doughty for the out.
“They had a lot of baserunners,” Coach Ouellette said. “They had a ton of baserunners. We haven’t been the big offensive powerhouse, but we have been great defensively.”
It was almost fitting that the first time a Hall-Dale runner crossed the plate, the play was revised and the runner was sent back to third. Maynard was on first and Eva Shepherd was on second when Kayla Johnson hit a pop fly to right field. The ball was dropped in the grass and Shepherd came around to score, but then there was a discussion amongst the umpires. One had ruled an infield fly, so the umpiring crew ruled “my bad” and sent Shepherd back to third.
“The home plate umpire saw the first base umpire put his hand up,” Ouellette said. “So when he saw that, he called an infield fly. I think he thought the wind was going to keep it in here.”
The play ended up costing Hall-Dale a run, but not the game. Begin singled inside third base and down the line to bring home Shepherd, but Doughty got back-to-back forceouts to end the game.
The Bulldogs were 2-2 at one point, but reeled off 10 wins in a row before dropping games on Monday and Tuesday. They’re still in good shape for one of the top three spots in the Western C tournament.
“It’s a little disappointing to not get the MVC game,” Hall-Dale coach Christen Lachapelle said. “I think our girls have a lot of heart, definitely a lot of effort. I just think we fell a little short in that one inning. I’m still proud of â€˜em. We’ve still got to focus on the next part of the season. The regular season doesn’t matter anymore.”