In a much anticipated softball contest Tuesday between front running Greenwich and the second place Indians of Hoosic Valley, all in attendance saw the two teams battle through seven innings and then some. A pair of extra frames were needed to decide this one, and that decision came in the bottom of the ninth when Indians lead-off batter Bridgett Ryan beat out an infield single plating Danielle Stannard with the winning run, giving the Valley the 2-1 “W”.
With two quality pitcher in Greenwich’s Rachel Hall and Hoosic Valley’s Camille Coyne runs figured to be at a premium and while it was a low scoring affair, both pitchers were tested by the opposing lineup.
In the first Coyne set down the Witches in order, and in the bottom of the frame Hall worked around a two-out single by Cierra Casale, catching cleanup hitter Colleen Bemish looking to end the inning.
Greenwich threatened in the second when Helen Smith banged a two-out single to right, and Brandi Bushong reached on a HBP. But Coyne escaped any damage retiring Devin Drew on a pop up to short for out number three.
The Valley loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the stanza on singles by Ashley Madigan, Stannard, and Emma Irwin. But Hall retired the next two Indians batters on ground balls to snuff the rally.
The Witches were back at it in the top of the third when Kaylee Ciccarone reached on a two-out walk, and Gabbie VanDeWater followed with a line drive up the gap in left-center that rolled to, and under the fence for a grounds rule double which held Ciccarone at third.
Coyne took advantage of the break fanning the next hitter, the always dangerous Hall to get out of the inning.
In the fourth the Valley plated the first run of the contest. With one out Irwin reached on a two base error, and after Coyne popped out on a bunt attempt, Ryan, slap hitting, flipped one into short right to score Irwin and give the Indians the 1-0 advantage.
Two innings later the Witches would tie things, and could have had more but for a fine play by the Valley defense.
With one out, Hall lined a single up the middle, and Courtney Fraher followed with a free pass putting runners on first and second. Smith was next and ripped a single to left, but left fielder Bemish came up throwing, hitting Casale who turned and fired a strike to the plate cutting down pinch runner Eliza Jordan trying to score.
Stepping in next was Lauren Maines who promptly delivered a clutch two-out RBI single plating Fraher tying things at 1-1.
Greenwich had a chance in the seventh to take the lead when Brittany Dione singled to start things and advanced to second on a Sabrina Whitehouse sac bunt. But again Coyne escaped damage getting the next two Witches on a pop up and ground out, and after Hall retired the Valley in order in the bottom of the inning it was on to extra frames.
In the bottom of the ninth, just as it started to drizzle the Indians pushed across the game winner. Stannard lead off with a single, took second on a nice sac bunt by Irwin, and moved to third when Coyne grounded out to second.
In stepped the fleet footed Ryan, who on the 2-1 pitch hit a slow four-hopper to second and beat the rap at first giving the Indians the one run decision.
With the Valley win both squads sport identical 7-1 records in league play with plenty of season left. The two clubs will meet for the second time next week in a game that will have much to say in deciding the Wasaren championship.