Winthrop’s Hanna Caprara follows through on a swing as Monmouth catcher Abby Ferland anticipates the incoming pitch during the Ramblers’ win in a Class C South quarterfinal game in Winthrop on Thursday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)
WINTHROP — Layne Audet struck out 14 batters, but the Winthrop pitcher’s biggest strike came in the bottom of the sixth while at the plate.
Audet singled in the go-ahead run, then struck out the final three batters in the top of the seventh, after allowing a lead-off single, to lead the fourth-seeded Ramblers to a 6-5 victory over No. 5 Monmouth Academy in a Class C South softball quarterfinal game Thursday.
Audet’s game-winning hit came after Hanna Caprara was intentionally walked, a decision Monmouth (11-6) co-coach Dave Kaplan said was “taking a chance.”
“I didn’t really want to let Audet hit, but the way Hanna was swinging the bat it looked like choose your evils,” Kaplan said. “And it might be the lesser, but she came through with that base hit, and that was the difference.”
Caprara hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the third to give the Ramblers (13-4) a 3-1 lead.
“It felt good once I hit it, and then I looked out and it was just going,” Caprara said.
“It really fired this team up,” Winthrop coach Chuck Gurney said.
It was Caprara’s second hit of the game. Her single in the first inning loaded the bases with one out. But the Ramblers didn’t take advantage, squandering the scoring opportunity.
“That was huge,” Kaplan said. “It was a momentum-builder. It got the confidence flowing.”
Winthrop scored four runs in the first during the teams’ regular-season meeting, then had to hold on for a win. The Mustangs survived the first-inning scare Thursday, then seized the early momentum by scoring the game’s first run in the top of the second. Abby Flanagan singled in Deanna Bauer for a 1-0 lead.
The bottom of Monmouth’s batting order got the offense going again in the fourth to tie the game — briefly.
No. 8 hitter McKenzie Boucher singled with one out, and pinch hitter Erin Gosselin singled to score Boucher. Emily Kaplan drove in Gosselin with a single two batters later to tie the game at 3-3.
Winthrop re-took the lead in the bottom of the frame when Moriah Hajduk singled home Maria Dostie.
The teams traded two-run innings in the sixth. Emily Chasse singled in two runs to give Monmouth a 5-4 lead, only to have Kate Perkins score on an error to tie the game in the bottom half, setting up Caprara’s free pass and Audet’s game-winning hit.
“We’ve been in a bunch of one-run games this year, so we’ve been behind by a little bit, we’ve been ahead by a little bit,” Gurney said. “So I think leading up to this that really helped, being in those situations before.”
Abby Ferland led off the seventh with a single and stole second, but Audet bounced back and struck out the side to end the game.
“She was hitting her spots really well, and we know their weaknesses where they can’t hit well, and that’s where we were pitching it, so it worked well,” said Caprara, who caught Audet.
Teammates swarm Winthrop’s Hanna Caprara (6) as she touches home plate after hitting a three-run home run during a win over Monmouth in a Class C South quarterfinal game in Winthrop on Thursday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)
Monmouth’s Abby Flanagan dives safely into second base as Winthrop shortstop Kate Perkins awaits a throw during the Ramblers’ win in a Class C South quarterfinal in Winthrop on Thursday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)Winthrop’s Moriah Hajudk, center, gets caught in a rundown between Monmouth catcher Abby Ferland and third baseman McKenzie Boucher. Hajduk was safe and the Ramblers won the Class C South quarterfinal in Winthrop on Thursday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)Monmouth’s Abby Ferland slides safely into second base on a steal ahead of the tage attempt by Winthrop shortstop Kate Perkins during the Ramblers’ win in a Class C South quarterfinal in Winthrop on Thursday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)Monmouth pitcher Emily Chasse peers in as she starts her delivery during a loss to Winthrop in a Class C South quarterfinal in Winthrop on Thursday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)
Winthrop pitcher Layne Audet goes through her windup during a win over Monmouth in a Class C South quarterfinal in Winthrop on Thursday. (Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal)