Waterford baseball, softball swept by Athens in DH
WATERFORD — Despite trailing by 10 runs in the opening inning of Friday night’s game with Athens, the Waterford Wildcats found themselves down by just two in the final inning with the tying run on base and the winning run at the plate.
Unfortunately the Wildcats were unable to complete a miracle comeback as Athens relief pitcher Will Matters came on to strike out Jude Huffman and then retire Cole Miller on a hard one-hopper to shortstop as the Bulldogs hung on for a 12-10 win.
Athens jumped all over Waterford starting pitcher Brad Miller in the opening inning as they sent 14 hitters to the plate combining seven basehits with some not so spectacular Wildcat defense to jump out to a 10-0 lead.
The Wildcats began to claw their way out of the hole in their half of the first thanks to RBI singles by Colton Shriver and Mason Heiss but Athens got one of those runs back in the second on an RBI single by Derrick Welsh.
Welsh went a perfect 5-for-5 on a very chilly Friday night including a solo-home run in the top of the fourth leaving Athens just one run shy of scoring a mercy-rule victory.
The Wildcats answered in a big way as they scored six times in the last of the fourth to cut the lead to 12-9.
Zimmer’s second run-scoring single of the game pulled the ‘Cats to within two heading to the final frame of the game that was shortened to six innings because of darkness.
Zimmer came on in relief in the opening inning and gave Wildcat head coach Doug Huffman five and a third innings of two-run relief to allow his team a chance to get back in the game.
“Kolton Zimmer came in and did a fantastic job for us in relief and we just kept battling and battling,” said Huffman. “Without him pitching that well there is no way we get back in that ball game.”
After Zimmer retired the ‘Dogs in the top of the sixth, the Wildcats had their shot as with one out Braden Miller walked and Jacob Huffman singled but Matters came on in relief and got the job done as Athens squared their season mark at 1-1.
Shane McDade was awarded the win for Athens while Miller suffered the loss for the Wildcats who slipped to 2-3 with the loss.
Peyton Gail added a pair of hits for the winners while Zimmer and Jacob Huffman paced the 10-hit Wildcat day with two hits apiece.
Everything seemed to be going the right way for the Wildcat softball team as they scored three times in the first inning and five more in the second to jump out to an 8-2 lead over Athens before the Bulldogs scored eight times in the fourth inning en route to a 17-11 win.
Waterford got RBI singles by Cara Taylor and Katie Lowe and a sacrifice fly by third baseman Alayna Jones to take an early 3-0 lead.
After Athens scored a pair of runs in the second thanks to three walks and a fielding error, the Wildcats added five more in their second at-bat.
Josie Elliott opened the inning for the ‘Cats with a double and Laykyn Jones followed with an infield single.
Shortstop Brier Offenberger walked to load the bases before Mackenzie Suprano cleared the bases with a long triple to the fence in left center.
Taylor followed with her second run-scoring single in as many innings and first baseman Riley Schweikert capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly.
Wildcat starting pitcher Kari Carney struggled all game long with her control and it finally cost her in the fourth inning as Athens drew five walks and got key two-run base hits by Autumn Hembree and Kayla Hammonds as they sent 13 hitters to the plate to score eight times to turn a five-run deficit into a three-run lead.
Athens continued to add to their lead with two in the fifth off of Wildcat relief pitcher Kryssa Hayes on run-producing hits by starting pitcher Ashleigh James and Hammonds and then struck for two more in the top of the sixth on RBI hits by Bailee Toadvine and Olivia Banks.
Waterford scored three times in the last of the sixth keyed by a two-run double by Taylor, her fourth hit of the game, to trim the lead to 15-11 heading to the final inning.
The Bulldogs got a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh on a clutch two-run, two-out double by Toadvine before James retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh as Athens squared their season mark at 2-2.
Athens pounded out 16 hits in the game led by three apiece by Banks and Walburn.
The loss was the first of the season in three attempts for the Doug Baldwin-coached Wildcats who were led by a two-hit game by Alayna Jones in addition to four hits and four RBI’s from Taylor.
The Waterford softball and baseball teams will both be right back in action today as they host River Valley at 11 a.m.