Blue Devils, ’Jackets split

Photo by Ron Johnston Williamstown third baseman Chloe Hooper (13) makes a putout on St. Marys’ Hannah Dearth (32) during a high school softball game Thursday.

ST. MARYS — St. Marys High led only one time in the opening game of a scheduled doubleheader — at the end.

Sydni Hinton plated Cara Masters with an infield hit in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Blue Devils rallied for four runs to defeat visiting Williamstown High, 8-7, in a Little Kanwha Conference softball game Thursday night.

“We haven’t had a comeback like that this year,” said SMHS skipper John Mike Nichols. “That was huge for our young team. I mean, they’re getting some experience and starting to grow up a little bit.”

St. Marys improved its record to 4-7 overall. Mahayla Nichols (the coach’s niece) fanned nine in seven innings of work and got the win.

She also helped her own cause with a double, single and two runs scored.

Offensively for the Devils, Hannah Dearth was 2 for 4 with four runs-batted-in.

Marissa Brookover and Olivia DeWeese each added two base-knocks.

Williamstown (5-15) was led by Kristin Vigneron, who was 1 for 3 with a home run and four ribbies.

Chloe Hooper chipped in with two singles, an RBI, and two runs scored.

Alexis Schreckengost drove in one run.

WHS hurler Aiyana Hancock suffered the setback in the circle.

“We were prepared to win today,” said Yellowjacket boss Kayla Morris.

“But a couple of errors here and there cost us the game.”

Williamstown staked itself to a 4-0 advantage in the top of the first when Vigneron slugged a grand slam homer to left.

“Kristin’s a great hitter, and we’ve been waiting for that to happen,” Morris said.

In the bottom half of the frame, SMHS batted around and got three of those runs back to cut it to one. Brookover singled home one run, and Dearth followed with a two-run single.

After the first inning, both Mahala Nichols and Hancock settled down and threw nothing but goose eggs for the next four innings.

But in the top of the sixth, Williamstown made it 5-3 when Hooper singled home Jocey West.

St. Marys came back in the bottom half of the frame and cut it to one on an unearned run.

The Yellowjackets stretched their lead to 7-4 in the seventh on another RBI hit by Hooper and a dropped flyball in right.

In the Devils’ last at-bats, Nichols led off with a double and advanced to third on Brookover’s infield hit. Both SMHS baserunners then legged it home on Dearth’s second two-run single of the contest, reducing the deficit to one.

Dearth then scored the equalizer on Masters’ hit, and after DeWeese’s infield hit, came around to score the game-winner on Hinton’s knock.

“I kept telling the girls that we needed somebody in those situations to step it up,” Coach Nichols said. “And, I think in this game, four or five girls wanted it, and they stepped it up.

“It’s a rivalry game, and the girls are going to bring their best game out every time.”

Williamstown got revenge in game two, winning 11-4 to salvage a split.

Gracie Graham started and went all five innings, walking four batters. Skyler Ahner took the loss for St. Marys, pitching five frames with two walks and three strikeouts.

Brittney Hooper was 2 for 2 with an RBI and two stolen bases. Schreckengost was 1 for 2 with two RBIs while Darcy Johnson also knocked in two.

For the Blue Devils, Dearth doubled and drove in two runs.