AUBURN — It was a roundabout trip to victory for the Cony Rams Friday.
After broken down buses, wrong turns and a lengthy ride down to Auburn, the Rams had to battle from behind during the game to edge Edward Little 6-4 in a showdown of two Eastern A playoff contenders. The Rams rallied to tie the game in the fourth and then survived an EL threat in the sixth. Cony then broke the tie in the seventh to earn the win.
“We had a hard time getting down here because our bus broke down,” said Cony pitcher Emily Soule. “So we came prepared, and we put it together when we needed to.”
Soule earned the game ball for her efforts. She scattered eight hits and escaped the Red Eddies threat in the sixth, getting two outs in the heart of the EL lineup and leaving the bases loaded. Soule also had a pair of hits, including an RBI single in the seventh that broke the tie. She scored in the insurance run on an error.
“I was pretty nervous pitching-wise,” said Soule, whose team arrived 30 minutes late after an hour-and-40 minute trip. “Then I got up to bat, and I was like, ‘It’s my turn.’ They just got those hits, and I knew I could get mine.”
EL (11-4) was ranked fourth in the latest Eastern A standings while Cony (12-3) was right behind them in fifth. Friday’s rematch was for playoff positioning and possibly for home field in a playoff reunion of these same teams.
“We’re making the playoffs regardless,” said EL coach Elaine Derosby. “This was a chance to get a home playoff game, but we’re great base runners and that short backstop doesn’t do us any good. So we’ll go play some place else so we can run some bases.”
EL lost to Cony by a run earlier in the season and had the chance to avenge that loss but stranded nine runners and committed four errors, two leading to the two runs in the seventh.
“It was a long week,” said Derosby. “Defensively, this week, we struggled. We know what we have to work on. We beat the No. 3 seed (Erskine) on Monday. We won a crazy game on Wednesday (over Morse), and we lost a close one today. We have two weeks to fix our mistakes. If we can fix those mistakes, I believe this group thinks they can beat anyone. They’re playing with confidence right now, and we just need to clean it up.”
Cony took the lead in the fifth when Amy Jones singled in a pair and scored on an Alyssa Brochu fielder’s choice. EL tied the game in the bottom of the sixth but could have had more. Emily Grund singled in the tying run. After Miranda Martin reached on a fielder’s choice, the bases were full with just one out. Soule buckled down and got Kayla Cummings to ground the ball to Jones at short. She got the force at home for the second out. Then a Kirsten Prue pop up to Jones ended the threat.
“I just knew I had to keep throwing hard,” said Soule,who struck out eight. “Early in the game, I struggled a little bit, but I battled through it. I knew I just had to keep throwing hard because when I threw hard or threw my junk, I’d get them most of the time.”
In the seventh, Susie Deeves led off and reached on an error and stole second. After Jones flew out, Soule delivered a single to right that scored Deeves. Soule later came in when EL threw the ball around on a Brochu ground out.
“I was pretty pumped to get up to bat because I hadn’t done anything all day,” said Soule. “I got that hit. I won’t say it was lucky, but it was pretty lucky.”
EL went quietly in the seventh. Grund finished with three hits.
“They came ready,” said Derosby of her team. “They went up to the plate, and they were aggressive. They put the ball in play. Last time we played them, we struckout 12 times. We’re better than we were last time. We made contact and got up to the plate wanting to get a hit.”