Winthrop’s Bry Baxter, right, gives teammate Kayleigh Oberg a high five after she scored a run during Saturday’s playoff game against Monmouth.
WINTHROP — Winthrop sent 10 hitters to the plate in the bottom half of the first inning, scoring six times, while Layne Audet scattered six hits throughout the rest of the game as the Ramblers held off Monmouth to advance to the Class C South softball regional final with a 7-4 victory over the Mustangs on Saturday.
Winthrop (12-5) took advantage of a pair of uncharacteristic walks from starter Emily Chasse, knocking her around for five hits — including a two-run double from Molly Glaser — in the six-run first.
“Our forte is pitching and defense. For us to come out and score six in the first inning, I don’t know where that came from,” Winthrop coach Chuck Gurney said.
Monmouth struck first in the opening frame after Audet retired the first two batters. Mariah Herr drew a walk and stole second and moved to third after Kayleigh Oberg’s throw sailed high into center field. After a walk to Haylee Langlois, Hannah Anderson hit a ground ball that bounced off the second basesman’s glove, allowing Herr to score. Abby Ferland ripped an RBI single for the Mustangs’ second run of inning.
Moriah Hajduk started the first inning with a one-out single up the middle, followed by an Oberg walk and a bloop single loading the bases for Raymond. The senior hit the first pitch she saw down to third base. It bounced off Anderson’s glove and plated two to tie the score. Glaser continued the hitting, ripping a double over the left fielder’s head. After another walk and a fly out, Hanna Caprara sliced a two-out double down the right field line for two more runs.
“We knew Emily (Chasse) wasn’t going to walk a lot people, so I told the girls to be aggressive, and it paid off,” Gurney said.
Monmouth inched closer in the top of the third inning after Herr singled and Anderson ripped a triple to deep center. She came in to score on an infield error by Winthrop. Chasse came up next hitting a double putting runners on second and third but were both stranded.
Audet went to work shutting down the Monmouth hitters the next couple of innings.
“They have some good hitters so keeping them off balance and not letting them know what pitches are coming next,” Audet said. “I always get nervous when they come up to hit. They have a lot of good hitters on their team.”
“We hit her around the first time we played up at Kents Hill. We tagged her for 17 hits, today we only had six,” Monmouth coach David Kaplan said.
Meanwhile, Chasse settled down on the bump allowing just a single to Kate Perkins over the next three innings.
“After struggles with location in the first inning, she pitched six really good innings,” Kaplan said. “She sucked it up after that first inning and our bats just didn’t get it done.”
Monmouth once again squandered an opportunity to score in the top of the fourth. Tia Day singled and Emily Kaplan reached base when the throw from her bunt was thrown over first, sending up the number three and four hitters to the plate with one out. Audet got Herr to lined out to second and Langlois popped out to Oberg to end the inning, stranding another pair.
“We just couldn’t get the bats going today. We had two runners on and the middle of our order up and we didn’t do it,” coach Kaplan said.
Winthrop got an insurance run in the fifth after Oberg singled and Raymond lined a triple to the fence in right center to score Oberg. Ferland picked Raymond off third three pitches later, ending any chance of more runs.
Audet retired ten of the final eleven hitters she faced, allowing only a Chasse single to close out the game for the Ramblers.
“The last time we played them we lost by one in extra innings so this time we really wanted to give it all we got and beat them, which we did,” Audet said.
“Two years ago this program was our catcher roaming the hallways recruiting players. These girls have come a long way, they are sisters off the field and it translates onto the field,” Gurney added. “I am so proud of these young ladies.”
“I’m super proud of my kids. They’ve battled all year long for us. We won a lot of close games this year but today we just couldn’t get the bats going,” Kaplan said.
Monmouth’s Mariah Herr slides into second with a stolen base as Winthrop’s Kate Perkins, center, attempts to field the throw from her catcher.While Winthrop’s Moriah Hajduk couldn’t field the ball cleanly on a sharp grounder, she managed to knock it down and keep it in the infield during Saturday’s playoff game against MonmouthWinthrop pitcher Layne Audet winds up for a pitch during Saturday’s playoff game agasint Monmouth in Winthrop.