SYCAMORE – Brooklynn Snodgrass had physics on the brain.
Not starting due to a late-running AP physics exam, Snodgrass hit a two-out, pinch-hit, walk-off single, as the Sycamore softball team erased a six-run deficit for a 9-8 win against Dixon on Thursday.
“I was just looking to get a base hit,” Snodgrass said. “I know when I try to swing hard I’m going to whiff that ball. I saw that changeup and was really scared, not going to lie. So I did a check swing to get it over the infield and it worked out in my favor.”
Tied at eight going into the bottom of the seventh, Emily Puentes reached on a single, then Olivia King pinch ran for her. Chelsea Born followed with a single, and Hayle Von Schnase walked to load the bases.
Snodgrass came off the bench for the first time and blooped the winning hit into center field.
“We have a lot of fight in us,” Snodgrass said. “We never lay down and die. We always try to come back. Sometimes it works in our favor and sometimes it doesn’t. Today, it worked in our favor.”
[ Photos from Dixon vs. Sycamore softball ]
Dixon (13-6) led 6-0 in the fourth with Elle Jarrett working on a no-hitter. She gave up a two-out walk to Brighton Snodgrass, then Born launched a two-run homer to the left-field alley, the first hit for the Spartans (15-12), making the game 6-2.
Becca Allen, who came on in relief with two outs in the fourth, got through the fifth without allowing a run. Sycamore tacked on three in the bottom of the inning. After Thea Boubin and Addison McLaughlin singled, Tia Durst followed with a single to left that got under the glove of Olivia Mowery. Boubin was going to score anyway, but McLaughlin seemed to get caught in a rundown between third and home.
But instead, McLaughlin motored to the plate and scored, dancing around the tag attempt. Durst ended up on third and scored on a groundout by Emily Puentes, making the game 6-5.
“I’m really excited about the fight,” Sycamore coach Jill Carpenter said. “We had some people in different spots for the first time, people coming from AP tests, year-end craziness where everything is going on. And we had some people step up and get the job done. They could have laid down and died going down 6-0. We didn’t have a hit at that point. And Chelsea Born got us going.”
Sam Tourtillott had a huge day at the plate for the Duchesses, driving in a run every time she came up in a 3-for-4 performance. In the sixth, she doubled with two outs, plating Bailey Tegeler, who reached on a two-out walk by Allen.
Tourtillott came in to pitch the bottom of the sixth, ending Jarret’s day allowing five runs, four earned and five hits. She struck out eight.
“I feel like she was strong,” Dixon coach Candi Rogers said of Jarret’s performance. “She felt good and did a good job changing it up, mixing up the speeds in spots. I feel like she did.”
Von Schnase tried to bunt her way on with one out, but reached on an error. After a sacrifice bunt, No. 9 hitter Jalyna Polichnowski blooped a double to center, making the game 7-6. Boubin launched a triple to left to tie the game, then the Spartans had their first lead of the game when she scored on a wild pitch.
Jarrett tied the game in the top of the seventh with a bomb to left field. The batter before, Von Schnase, the Spartans catcher, threw behind Izzi McCommons at first, picking her off.
“I feel like we started off strong, but then a few mental mistakes and the wheels kind of fell off,” Rogers said. “Obviously we’ll learn from it. We can’t make those mental mistakes. You have to do the timely hitting. When we have runners on, we have to come through and hit.”
Allen didn’t give up anything else, and the Spartans won the game in the bottom of the seventh on Snodgrass’ big hit.
The Spartans finished with 10 hits. Boubin was 2 for 4 and scored twice. Born also was 2 for 4, as seven of the nine Sycamore starters had a hit.
Not only was the team without Snodgrass, normally a fixture at the top of the lineup, but also Paige Collie, who owns the school record for home runs. Carpenter said Collie is battling an injury and hopes she’s back in time for the playoffs.
“We talked about how everyone needs to pass the bat and pick it up,” Carpenter said. “No one person is going to replace Paige Collie. We need multiple people to step up and I think you saw that. We had people on base throughout our entire lineup. ... Everybody contributed and that’s what we’re going to need to keep ourselves in games and give ourselves a chance to win.”