HS Softball: Mt. Abram rallies for win over Jay

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JAY — Kylie Rolbiecki saw the third baseman creeping in. To her right, the first baseman was doing the same, and the catcher behind her was up on her toes. Jay’s entire infield was ready for the Mt. Abram leadoff hitter — at the plate in the top of the seventh with two outs — to bunt.

Rolbiecki knew it, stared them down and laid one down anyway.

“There’s no doubt at that moment, I’m going to get it down, I need to,” she said. “I don’t look back, I don’t look at all, I just book it.”

Rolbiecki made it to first without even drawing a throw, sparking a two-out, three-run rally as the Roadrunners erased a two-run deficit in the seventh inning and held on for a 5-4 victory over a stunned Jay squad.

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“We were fortunate, a bit,” Mt. Abram coach Jeff Pillsbury said. “The previous inning, we had runners on second and third and no outs and we didn’t get anything out of it.”

The ‘Runners also benefitted from six Jay errors, and none bigger than in that seventh inning. After Rolbiecki’s bunt, pitcher Molly McCafferty and shortstop Jillian Withee both singled to load the bases, bringing up Emma Twitchell in the cleanup spot. With two strikes and a two-run lead, Jay hurler Paula Despres hung a pitch in the zone, and Twitchell slapped it high in the air to the edge of the outfield. Three defenders converged on the ball, which tipped off the right fielder’s glove and fell to the turf. With two outs, all runners were moving, and two runs crossed to knot the score at 4-4.

“There was a little bit of doubt when i was first up there, when there were two strikes,” Twitchell said. “But then i saw the ball coming and knew it was mine. I saw her about to catch it, and just kept thinking, ‘She’s going to drop it, keep running hard.'”

Sam Werzanski followed that up with a line drive toward short. Despite a leaping effort, the ball tipped off Brittany DiPompo’s glove and fell to the dirt, allowing Withee to scamper home with the winning run.

“That was just a good, hard hit,” Pillsbury said. “She got a good piece of that one.”

“That one, you can’t really do much about, that was a hard-hit ball,” Jay coach Robin Roberts said. “We don’t normally make a lot of errors. This was a poor defensive effort today on our part. The people making the errors, don’t make errors.”

“You can’t always control offense, and you’re going to have off nights, but we work on defense all the time,” Jay assistant coach Clint Brooks said.

Mt. Abram’s offense got things moving quickly. Rolbiecki singled to lead off the game, advanced to second on a throwing error and to third on a sacrifice. Withee sent her home with a single, and she ultimately scored after another error, a fielder’s choice and a ground-out, staking the Roadrunners to a 2-0 advantage.

The Tigers struck back with two in the third. Beth Moore launched a double to left, DiPompo added a double to right to score Moore, and Netta Shank doubled DiPompo home.

In the fourth, Alexii Smith singled and came around to score on a close play at the plate, just beating the throw from the shortstop after a double by pitcher Paula Despres. Moore singled Despres home to push the Jay lead to 4-2, where it stayed until the seventh.

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