BETHEL – There was no stopping Josie Reiss – even if she didn’t know it at the time.

The Telstar junior outfielder thought she might just advance one base Monday afternoon, but quickly discovered she had the green light from second on an infield hit in the fifth inning of a tie game.

“I was surprised that he sent me home,” Reiss said. “When he said ‘Go!’ I’m like ‘OK. If you say so.’ I thought I was going to be out, honestly.”

Reiss scampered home easily to lift the Rebels to a 2-1 semifinal victory over Monmouth. Telstar advances to its third straight Western C championship game.

The defending state champs have a rematch with Georges Valley on Wednesday afternoon at Ward Field at St. Joseph’s College. The Buccaneers handed the Rebels (16-1) their only loss, which was later avenged in the MVC championship game.

“When we won the states, Liz Rosenberg scored from second base,” said Telstar coach Jim Lunney. “When we beat Sacopee (Tiffany Jordan) scored from second base. We’ve just got to keep running.”

It proved to be a sweet 16th birthday for Rebels’ pitcher Candace Hall. She allowed two hits and struck out four. She even escaped a threat in the final inning when Alyssa Morin his a leadoff single and Kristen Cotton drew a two-out walk, leaving runners at the corners.

But, pinch-hitter Moe Beaulieu hit on a grounder to second that Joseline Belanger scooped up and relayed to Megan Smith for the final out.

“The last two batters, coach said to go away and low,” said Hall, who one-hit the Mustangs earlier in the year. “I tried to do that. Once that girl walked, I was like ‘We need this really bad.'”

Monmouth coach Rachel Bernier did not speak to reporters after the game.

The game-winner came in the fifth during a brief rain shower. With two outs, Reiss beat out an infield hit and advanced to second on an error. Whitney Mills followed with an infield hit up the middle that glanced off pitcher Brittany Hilton’s glove to second baseman Kayla Strout.

While Mills was beating out her hit, most forgot about Reiss. Lunney had her running all the way, and by the time Monmouth realized she was homeward bound, it was too late.

“She was going,” said Lunney. “Especially Josie in particular, there are two or three runners we have and they’re coming in that situation. I thought (Strout) was going to go to first. If she missed, we’d score. Then she held it and forgot a runner was on.”

Telstar used its base running to score in the second. Belanger singled and advanced twice on wild pitches before scoring on Hall’s bunt. Monmouth (12-6) tried to get Belanger racing to the plate, but her head-first dive beat the tag.

Monmouth tied the game in the third. Cotton walked and advanced on a sacrifice. After Jenn Lola’s two-out single, Cotton scored on a wild pitch.

“Neither one of us had a lot of opportunities to score,” said Lunney. “It came down to a base hit or off a play. I’m pleased as punch for the girls. Candace is having a heck of a year and the defense has been great behind her.”

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