Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
By Ryan Hines
Parkway scores a run in 10th to knock off St. Henry
ROCKFORD - The only two teams without a loss in the Midwest Athletic Conference softball race squared off on Monday afternoon at Shane's Park in Rockford.
Parkway rallied from a two-run deficit in the sixth inning and then benefited from a pair of St. Henry errors in the 10th inning for a 5-4 victory.
Panthers head coach Mark Esselstein knows that it's too early in the season to predict a MAC crown for his team.
"All that today's win does for us in the league race is make us 2-0 and it lets us control our destiny," said Esselstein. "The MAC is something that we really want obviously, but there's a lot of season left with a lot of good teams remaining. Anyone can beat anyone in this league and we know that."
Parkway (5-3, 2-0 MAC) was able to knock off St. Henry (9-3, 3-1 MAC) by manufacturing a run in extra innings with a little help from the Redskins' defense.
With one out in the bottom of the 10th inning, Parkway's Megan Ketchum reached base safely on an overthrow at first base. A Lindsay Shellabarger groundout allowed Ketchum to reach second base with two outs.
It looked as if St. Henry was going to push the game to the 11th inning when Katlyn Smith hit a routine grounder to shortstop. The throw to first base was in the dirt and the umpire ruled that the ball was bobbled allowing an aggressive Ketchum to score all the way from second base.
"We teach the girls with two outs and when they are second base to get great jumps and keep trucking until the play is over, especially on plays to first base because you never know what might happen," said Esselstein. "Megan hustled the whole way and we were fortunate that there was a bobble at first base."
St. Henry head coach Josh Link disagreed with the umpire's ruling and felt that the play at first base should have been called an out instead of the seventh error of the game by the Redskins.
"From my angle, I'm confident that we had the ball in time for the out," said Link. "I know that the ball was bobbled but she recovered in time with the ball in her bare hand for the out. It was a great game with a lot of momentum swings for both teams with offense and defense. Just wish we could have come away with a win."
The Redskins were in the lead for most of the game with leads of 2-1 and 4-2 before Parkway plated a pair of runs in the sixth inning.
Parkway nearly won the game in the bottom of the seventh inning, but an umpire's obstruction call at third base wasn't enforced and the game continued.
"I think that our girls really showed a lot of guts today with the way that we were able to come back twice today against a very good St. Henry team," said Esselstein. "I thought that we had the game won in the seventh inning on the call at third base, but it didn't happen that way. We just kept battling back and got the win."
The Panthers are back in action today with a road trip to Russia while St. Henry will be back in MAC action with a road contest against Marion Local.
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