SOUTH AMHERST — Softball teams don’t win 80 percent of their games by giving up when things look bleak. Firelands is living proof of that.
The third-seeded Falcons looked like they were going to drop a Division II sectional final to sixth-seeded Buckeye on Tuesday, but a little want-to and even more determination lifted them to a 7-6 win in eight innings.
“We never quit,” Lexi Coggins said. “We’re always up. We always fight. I love these girls. We’re always cheering each other on. We were down 2-0 the first inning and we scored four runs. We just kept going and didn’t stop. Even when they tied the game, we didn’t stop. We knew we had last ups and had to make it count.”
Lexi Coggins was at the center of the walk-off win when she doubled over the head of Nicole Figueroa with one out in the eighth inning to drive in Tori Coggins, her sister.
Tori Coggins started things off with a walk and took second on Abigail Aslaksen’s perfect sacrifice bunt. Lexi Coggins then drilled a double down the right-field line for the winner.
Game. Set. Match.
Bring on second-seeded Cloverleaf (20-8) today.
“These guys have always fought all year long,” Firelands coach Samantha Dostall said. “Other than one game, they’ve always kept it close and have always wanted it. When they come out, they want to be one of the best teams. They want to compete with the best teams. They always give 110 percent.”
The Falcons (16-4) had to against the Bucks (15-11), who fought Firelands to the end.
Up 4-2 after one, it looked like the Falcons were going to roll. But a two-RBI single by Clare Mewhinney tied things at 5 in the sixth and an RBI single by Angelica Beckett in the seventh gave the Bucks a one-run lead heading to the bottom half of the inning.
Perhaps it was divine intervention or perhaps it was just the willingness to push the opponent to the limit, but when Firelands showed muscle, Buckeye buckled.
Emily Stewart opened the seventh inning with a grounder to third, but reached on an error when the ball was bobbled at first. Ashley Strauss flew out to center field and Larren Rounds popped out to second for what should have been the third out.
Up stepped Delaney Overstreet and the sophomore absolutely blasted a double to left-center to score Stewart.
Undaunted, Buckeye opened the eighth by reaching on an error with one out. That’s when Rounds stepped to the forefront from behind the plate on a beautiful strike-them-out-throw-them-out pickoff at first to end the inning.
It wasn’t just a double play. It was the spark the squad needed to end things.
“That was big,” Rounds said. “You could tell when someone got on we were a little tense. It felt good to get someone out and show them I had their backs and we could get through it.”