LIBERTY CENTER, Ohio -- All Cassidy Wyse had to do was find the gap.
Her team had made contact with the ball for five innings, but couldn't find anywhere for a hit to drop in the outfield expanses.
Yet after she went hitless in her first two at-bats, Wyse pinpointed the right spot for her only hit in the Archbold softball team's 4-3 win Wednesday over Evergreen in a District III softball regional semifinal.
With one out and the bases loaded, Wyse sent Evergreen pitcher Lesley Ducat's first offering over the left-centerfield fence to break a scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth.
"It was exciting, with the bases loaded, so I knew I had to step up for my team and get that hit," Wyse said.
Evergreen coach Mollie Voutzy chose to play the odds by walking Chelsea Goebel and having Ducat face Wyse, who had gone hitless up to that point in the game.
"The last two at-bats, she'd popped up to the infield, and the batter after her [Hanna Allison] had done the same," Voutzy said. "We thought, if we can load up the bases and get her to pop up, we can make a force out at any base."
Archbold will face either Martins Ferry or Edison at noon Saturday in Ashland in the District III title game. Those two play at 6 p.m. today.
Prior to Wyse's grand slam, the Blue Streaks (23-7) had gotten just two hits off Ducat and put only one runner in scoring position through the first five innings -- Becca Gerig, who was stranded on second in the bottom of the first.
"We both can hit really well," said Voutzy, whose team had six hits. "Both teams had to be on their A-game, as far as defense and where a run was going to score."
"Defense was big," she said. "Since both teams really weren't hitting that well, we had to step up on defense to keep up in this game. We knew coming into it that they were going to have great hitters, so we knew we'd have to make the plays."
Yet with Evergreen (20-3) down to its final out in the top of the seventh, Archbold's defense struggled to cement the win.
"They really wanted to win this game," Voutzy said. "We were in a good part of our batting order for that."
With two outs and two on, Taylor Monahan beat out Archbold pitcher Hanna Allison's throw to first to load the bases.
Megan Mosiniak grounded into a fielder's choice that brought in Jessi Ducat for Evergreen's first run, as Wyse was unable to hang on to the throw at third base from Gerig at shortstop. Gerig fielded a ground ball by Lauren Langenderfer but her throw skidded off the glove of Cassidy Williams at second base and allowed Kenya Keller and Monahan to cut the lead to 4-3
Allison walked Lesley Ducat to load the bases but Bailie Brock grounded to Wyse at third base, who stepped on the bag to end the game.
"It was a little nerve-wracking," Wyse said of the seventh. "We went out there, we got four runs on the board and we just had to go out and play the defense that we'd played all year.
"We were all a little overconfident from that last inning so we came out and we had to make the plays that we knew we could make."
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.
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