MONMOUTH — Taylor Truman said she was “extremely nervous, my heart was pounding,” but the freshman didn’t back down with a chance to win the game for Monmouth.

With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and the game tied, Truman hit a hard grounder right at a Winthrop infielder, but what she was hoping would happen did. The Ramblers’ sixth error of the game allowed Haylee Langlois to come home from third and score the winning run for a 7-6 Monmouth victory in an MVC Class C South softball clash Monday at Chick Memorial Field.

“I just had to take a couple deep breaths and relax myself to hopefully make a good hit,” Truman said. “I was hoping that she would bobble it, and it went right through her legs and hit the lip.”

The Mustangs (4-1) led from the first inning until Winthrop (2-2) tied it 4-4 in the fourth. Monmouth went back up in the bottom of the sixth but then had to rally back after the Ramblers scored two runs in the top of the seventh to take a 6-5 lead.

Monmouth coach Dave Kaplan said it “was a really nice gut-check” for his team to regroup from losing the lead in the top of the seventh and win it back in the bottom.

It all started with No. 1 hitter Emily Kaplan leading off by reaching on an error and then stealing second. Winthrop starter Layne Audet picked up her 11th strikeout for the first out, then a groundout made it two outs but put Kaplan on third. Winthrop coach Chuck Gurney then intentionally walked Langlois, a decision he said he would make all day long “out of respect for Haylee.”

Abby Ferland’s single dropped in to score Kaplan and tie the game, and the ball got away from the Ramblers outfield to put runners at second and third.

Then it came time for Truman to hit, and she said she expected to bat all along, despite being sixth in the batting order.

“Taylor’s coming around,” Kaplan said. “And she came through big, hitting that ball hard. That’s what you got to do, make them make a mistake. Make them make the play, and she did it. That’s a big situation for a freshman, you know, down 0-2, and Layne throws hard.”

Truman said she is used to hard throwers from playing summer league softball, so she wasn’t intimidated by Audet’s speed.

“Our kids can hit her, but they’re learning now to lay off those extreme pitches,” Kaplan said.

The Mustangs were able to collect nine hits off Audet, plus a handful of other hard-hit balls.

The Ramblers didn’t have as much success early against Monmouth starter Mariah Herr. Hanna Caprara did hit a lead-off home run in the second to briefly tie the game, but only one other of the first 12 batters was able to get a hit off Herr.

“I mean, Mariah is not going to overpower you. She’s going to throw strikes. … We have got some good hitters, but you’re not going to get hits if you don’t swing the bats,” Gurney said.

Olivia Simonson’s two-run double in the fourth drew Winthrop within 4-3. The Mustangs drew first blood on a Langlois RBI double in the first, scored two runs on a Winthrop error to go up 3-1 in the second, then made it 4-1 pn Emma Johnson’s RBI bunt single in the third.

Bry Baxter tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Erin Gosselin had a sacrifice fly of her own in the bottom of the sixth to put Monmouth up 5-4.

In the top of the seventh, Caprara drew a one-out walk, then Baxter followed with a single. Audet reached on a fielder’s choice that loaded the bases and failed to yield an out, setting the stage for Sam Allen’s two-run double to put the Ramblers ahead.

Kaplan then made a running, sliding catch of a liner in left-center for a second out, and the Ramblers weren’t able to get pinch runner Lindsay Letourneau home from third. Gurney lamented that missed opportunity, with a pop foul ending the inning and preventing any further damage.

“We just made way too many mistakes today to compete with a team like Monmouth,” Gurney said.

Monmouth’s Haylee Langlois tags Winthrop’s Lydia Rice too late after a slide back to first plate during Monday afternoon’s softball game in Monmouth. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

Winthrop’s Kate Perkins scrambles after a loose ball after Monmouth’s Abby Ferland slides into second base during Monday afternoon’s softball game in Monmouth. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

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