Ford City holds off late West Shamokin rally in victory
In a game both teams needed to keep pace in the playoff race, Ford City did just enough to hold off a late West Shamokin comeback attempt.
The Wolves scored five runs in the top of the seventh, but the Sabers managed to make their large lead stand up for a 9-8 win that kept Ford City one game behind third-place Freeport in the Section 3-AA standings.
Paige Klingensmith had an RBI double, an RBI triple and scored twice, while Jess Jubec allowed three runs over six innings to record the win for Ford City (3-3, 3-3).
Kelsey Lipsie and Kelly Clowser both drove in two runs to lead the offense for West Shamokin (2-5, 2-5).
“That's a very good win for us. We needed this one,” Ford City coach Bill Richard said.
“We have to keep our heads up and keep our momentum going from this.”
The Sabers appeared to be on the way to an easy win with a 9-3 lead entering the final inning, but three straight walks issued to the lower half of the West Shamokin lineup put the Wolves in business with no outs.
Jenna Wolsonovich stepped into the circle to relieve Brooke Stitt, who started the inning, but she issued a fourth straight walk to the Wolves' Belle McIlwain and forced home a run. Clowser followed the walks with a two-run single, and West Shamokin had the tying run at the plate with no outs.
Ford City continued to struggle in the field until Klingensmith managed to smother a line drive by Lipsie and crawl to touch third base for the first out, but Clowser scored on the fielder's choice to cut the lead to 9-8.
Wolsonovich shut the door by retiring the next two batters as she fielded a hard bouncer back into the circle for the final out.
“That final inning, we just tried to get our girls to throw strikes,” Richard said.
“Our leading pitcher (Andrea Markilinski) is out win a concussion, so we're asking these other girls to step up and get us out of innings, and they did.”
The Wolves put together a big seventh inning, but they had two golden chances to score earlier in the game.
Three straight singles by Tori Lowry, McIlwain and Clowser loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning, but Jubec struck out two of the next three hitters to get Ford City out of the inning without allowing a run.
West Shamokin also put two runners on with one out in the third but got just one run on a single by Lowry.
“We left too many runners on base. I think we left 10 in the first six innings, and we finally put something together in the last inning,” West Shamokin coach Jim Ellenberger said.
“The important thing is our girls played hard the whole game. They didn't give up when they were behind, 9-2, and they almost pulled it out in the last inning. We've played competitively with Freeport, which is one of the top teams in our section, and now Ford City, and we hope we can keep that going (in the second half of the season).”
Ford City got six of its nine runs in the bottom of the third inning.
With the game tied, 2-2, the Sabers loaded the bases with the help of an error and a pair of walks. Wolsonovich and Maddie Brice drove in a run each before Jubec helped her cause with a two-run single.
A sacrifice fly by Lexi Turek and an RBI groundout by Angela Wilsoncroft gave Ford City an 8-2 lead at the end of the third.
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.