FARMINGDALE — Eva Shepherd didn’t get exactly what she wanted but it was what she and her Hall-Dale teammates needed.

The Bulldogs shortstop had the winning run standing at third base Monday and the bat and destiny in her hands.

“Usually I’m so nervous,” Shepherd said. “I was just thinking about getting a single. Of course, I popped it up.”

Her pop up was shallow but just deep enough to plate Morgan Rush with the sacrifice fly. Rush raced home and beat the throw to lift the Bulldogs to a thrilling 9-8 Western C semifinal win over Mountain Valley in 10 innings.

“I  knew Morgan is a good base runner,” said Shepherd, who had some early miscues in the field but was stellar at shortstop late in the game. “So I thought she’d have a enough time to tag up and go.”

Hall-Dale advances to Tuesday’s Western C final at St. Joseph’s College to play top-ranked Madison. The defending regional champs beat Hall-Dale twice in the regular season 6-2 and 7-1.

The winning run didn’t come without controversy. When Shepherd’s hit was in the air, Rush was off the base and a few steps toward home. She turned back to the base to tag up, but it appeared she simply stepped on the bag, turned around and headed home without even looking to see when the ball was caught. As a result, she may have left a moment early.

“I think it was a very bad call,” Mountain Valley coach Lisa Russell said. “She left the base before it was even caught. A bad call. She came off and went back and left again before it hit the girls’ glove.”

Mountain Valley appealed, but the umpires ruled that Rush was safe at home. It was a chaotic ending to the game with Mountain Valley coaches screaming at umpires, Falcon parents yelling at coaches and the players audibly crying in the dugout.

The Falcons had been down by as many as 6-1 and 8-4 before rallying to tie it.

“I’m very proud of them,” Russell said. “They’re a great group of girls.”

The Falcons (13-6) had the chance to take the lead in the top of the 10th. Mountain Valley had the lead runner thrown out at the plate following a Karen Flaherty single. Hall-Dale’s Emma Begin fielded the ball in shallow center and fired it toward the plate. Catcher Emily Maynard took the ball on one hop and tagged pinch-runner Abby Mazza out.

“I just wanted to get it in,” said Begin, who had missed her opportunity to plate the winning run in the ninth after an Olivia Maynard lead-off double. She was stranded at third. “I didn’t have a good at-bat. I just wanted to make up for it. We practice that (one hop) a lot in practice. So I was prepared for it.”

In the bottom of the 10th,  Rush led off with a single. Helen Houdlette sacrificed her over. After an Emily Maynard infield hit and steal put runners at second and third, Shepherd delivered the sacrifice fly to left. It was her second RBI of the game.

“It was definitely a struggle to keep our composure,” Shepherd said. “This year that’s something we’ve gotten a lot better at. We pulled it together.”

Emily Maynard finished with three hits for the Bulldogs (14-4). Becca Ackerson had two hits and an RBI while Kayla Johnson and also drove in a run with a hit. Ackerson had come on to pitch in the fifth in relief of Olivia Maynard. The Falcons tied the game up that inning but Ackerson allowed just five hits over the next five innings and didn’t allow another run.

The Falcons got two hits and three RBI from Shannon Laubauskas, who also made some nice catches in center. Aly Carlton had a hit and drove in three runs. Katie Collette had a pair of hits.

The game featured plenty of errors. Mountain Valley had four while the Bulldogs had six.

The Falcons, which lost to Hall-Dale 3-2 earlier in the season in the bottom of the seventh, scored first when Carlton scored on a Laubauskas fielder’s choice. Hall-Dale took the lead in the bottom of the inning when an error on an Olivia Maynard grounder plated two runs.

Hall-Dale made it 6-1 in the second on four hits and two Falcon errors. Shepherd had a sacrifice fly that scored Rush. An Ackerson bloop single plated another run. Then an error on a Johnson grounder brought in two more for the 6-1 lead.

The Falcons battled back in the third. Carlton doubled in a pair and scored on a Laubauskas bunt hit.

Hall-Dale upped the lead to 8-4 in the fourth when Emily Maynard scored on an error. Then Johnson followed with an RBI double.

Mountain Valley tied it in the fifth. Carlton bunted in Flaherty. Then Laubauskas singled in a run. Then an error on a Lindsay Marston grounder plated a pair to tie it 8-8.

“I wasn’t focused,” Shepherd said of her fielding woes early in the game. “I knew I had to get my head in this for the team, not just for myself.”

From there, it was a battle for the next run. Marston went the complete 10 innings for the Falcons and scattered 11 hits, only five came over the final six innings.

The Bulldogs got some nice defensive plays from Shepherd at short and Rush at third, who reached over the fence to snag a foul pop.

“We played hard and they played hard,” Russell said. “It was a great game.”

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