Hall High School hosted RHAM Monday in West Hartford with the Warriors finishing the marathon game with a win.
By Paul Palmer
Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs was famous for once saying, “Beautiful day. Let’s play two!” Apparently, the Hall and RHAM High School softball teams didn’t care if it was not so beautiful Monday; they went ahead and played 12 innings – the equivalent of two games – before Hall scored the game’s only run for the 1-0 win.
Hall senior pitcher Sophie Garner-MacKinnon turned in a Herculean performance pitching all 12 innings, throwing 166 pitches, striking out 28 batters and eventually becoming the winning run in the game. “I was so high on adrenaline, I don’t know if I even felt my arm,” said the pitcher after the game.
It was clear early on that hits were going to be scarce for both sides as Garner-MacKinnon and RHAM’s Hadley Marchand were dealing from the first inning. The Raptors sophomore hurler gave up just four hits in 12 innings and struck out 12 Warrior batters. Marchand recorded at least one strikeout in 10 of the 12 innings.”
They gave us a great game,” said Hall coach Rebecca Lewis. “Their pitcher was great,” she added.
Garner-MacKinnon had at least one strikeout in every inning and struck out the side in the first, third, fourth, fifth, and 12th innings for Hall.
Each side had their chances in the regulation first six innings to score. In the fifth, RHAM started the inning with Marchand reaching on an error and moving to second on Linnea Carlson’s single. Both players moved up a base on a steal before Garner-MacKinnon struck out the next three batters to end the threat.
The Raptors put two runners on again in the 1oth, but the threat was ended with a strikeout and a great individual effort by catcher Stephanie Markie. With runners at first and third, Jordyn Fitch hit a dribbler in front of the plate. Carlson, who was on third base, broke for home on contact, but Markie was able to get to the ball and make the tag on the sliding RHAM player.
“The team had Sophie’s back all day,” said Coach Lewis, a sentiment echoed by her pitcher Garner-MacKinnon. “They had so much support for me,” she said of her defense. “I trust we’ll get the out.”
With both teams showing no signs of giving up, the game entered the pivotal 12th inning as the sunlight began to fade. In the top of the frame, RHAM got a runner as far as third base before Garner-MacKinnon struck out the final three batters, getting an assist from her catcher Markie who caught a low tipped ball for the final out.
In the bottom half of the inning, sophomore Jane Grove led off with a single up the middle and was followed by Garner-MacKinnon reaching on a bunt. She was then replaced with courtesy runner Bella Gwiazdoski at first base. Tessa Hache would reach base on an intentional walk – her second time reaching base in the game. With the bases loaded, Makalya Ramos hit a comebacker to Marchand whose low throw home was dropped by catcher Taylor Fitch.
As Grove raced home, Fitch scrambled to recover the ball and got possession just before Grove got to the plate for the first out of the inning. Marchand fanned the next Hall batter, but with Emma DeMichele at bat Taylor Fitch let a low pitch get past her and Gwiazdoski slid home ahead of the attempted tag by Marchand for the winning run.
Lewis rejoiced in the win and commented that “it was the first time Bella had touched the field this year.”
The Warriors won’t have much time to dwell on the win; they are back in action Wednesday against Southington and again on Friday against Platt. The win moves Hall to 2-1 on the season while RHAM drops to 0-1.
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