By Rob Potter
JEFFERSONVILLE Going into last Wednesday afternoon’s doubleheader at Lauren Hughson Field, the Sullivan West softball team needed to win at least one of the games to qualify for the Section IX Class B Softball Tournament.
The Lady Bulldogs won both of their Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV games on the afternoon.
In the first game, SW shut out the James I. O’Neill Lady Raiders, 1-0. In the second game, the Lady Bulldogs defeated the Liberty Lady Indians, 10-4.
With the two victories, SW finished the regular season with a 7-7 overall record and 5-3 in Division IV.
The Lady Bulldogs are the No. 5 seed in the Class B tournament. They are scheduled to visit No. 4 seed Tuxedo at 4 p.m. today. The winner of the game will play No. 1 seed James I. O’Neill at 4 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals.
In the victory over the Lady Raiders, Hannah Schwatz was the key player for the Lady Bulldogs. She hit an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning, which became the game-winning hit.
Schwatz was also the winning pitcher, recording 12 strikeouts.
In their second game, the Lady Bulldogs took a 9-0 lead over Liberty in the bottom of the first inning.
Despite facing an early deficit, Liberty (2-11, 1-6 Div. IV) kept playing well and closed the SW lead to 10-2 in the middle innings.
In the top of the sixth, Liberty’s Jasmine Howard scored on a passed ball to make it a 10-3 game.
The next batter, Ashley Wallgren, reached base with an infield hit. After moving to second base on a wild pitch and third base on a passed ball, Wallgren crossed the plate on a passed ball to bring the Lady Indians within six runs at 10-4.
The Lady Bulldogs tried to add to their lead in the bottom of the sixth as they had the bases loaded with one out. But Liberty pitcher Wallgren got a strikeout and groundout to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh, SW pitcher Amanda Rosenberger set down the Lady Indians in order by getting all three batters to ground out.
“We were down early, but we kept battling right to the end of the game,” Liberty Coach Matt Stoddard said. “It was 9-0 after one inning and ended up a 10-4 final, so I’m pleased that we didn’t quit and kept playing hard the whole game.”
“Sullivan West played very well,” Stoddard added. “They have a good team and I wish them best of luck in the sectionals.”
SW Coach Mike Ellmauer was hoping his team would win at least one of the games to reach sectionals. He and all of the players were happy to win both games.
“Defeating O’Neill was big for us,” Ellmauer said. “The girls were still fired up for the second game and we came out and scored those nine runs in the first inning against Liberty.”
Ellmauer noted that Assistant Coach Joe Ebeling and all of the players worked very hard to reach sectionals after starting the season with some difficult defeats.
Moments after finishing the regular season with two wins, Ellmauer wasn’t sure exactly where the Lady Bulldogs would be playing their first sectional game or against whom they would be playing.
But the veteran coach was confident in his team.
“Getting to sectionals is a goal we always have at the beginning of the season,” Ellmauer said. “Once you get into sectionals, anything can happen on a given day.”