Ab Fab: Wells' Wallop Gives Wahconah Walkoff Win
DALTON, Mass. -- Wahconah's Abby Wells went to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning on Saturday morning just hoping to make contact.
Mission accomplished. And then some.
Wells crushed a fastball over the fence in right field at Pine Grove Park to give Wahconah a 5-2, come-from-behind, walkoff win over Mount Anthony Union.
Wells said she didn't know for sure that the ball was going to reach the 260-foot fence, but she had a feeling she may have done her job.
"It felt pretty good," she said. "I was just trying to make contact. I knew I just had to run after that. I didn't think about it too much.
"It just felt pretty good."
There were good vibrations all the way around for the Wahconah camp after solving Patriots pitcher Emily O'Brien for the first time since the bottom of the first inning.
That Wells did it in spectacular fashion was just a bonus.
"Abby's been working so hard at the plate," Wahconah coach Dustin Belcher said. "She's been a little unlucky at times, and she's been a little frustrated. But she's really been working and putting the extra time in.
"I gotta tell you, I think that's the first girl to ever do that. I don't know for sure. At least in my almost 20 years, I've never seen a girl put one out on this field."
Pine Grove, which is designed for slow pitch, has a deeper fence than a typical fast-pitch park. Typically, fast pitch fences run 200 to 220. At Pine Grove, inside-the-park round-trippers are fairly common given the amount of room for outfielders to chase the ball.
But there was no reason for anyone to run after the ball Wells hit -- except to retrieve it as a souvenir.
Fittingly, Morgan Marauszwski had the the honor of scoring the winning run as she came home from second base.
The rally started with a one-out single by No. 9 hitter Kaitlyn Olds. Next, Marauszwski barely beat the relay on a would-be double play that could have ended the inning.
Instead, she stood on first when Rachel Kays laced a single up the middle to put runners at first and second with two out for Wells.
Her game-winning performance at the plate ensured that her sterling, 12-strikeout performance in the circle held up.
Wells gave up a run in the first and a run in the third and then retired 13 of the next 14 batters she faced to keep it a 2-2 game.
Mount Anthony struck first in the top of the first thanks to an RBI triple by Kat Worthington.
Wahconah responded in the bottom of the frame.
Marauszwski reached on an error to lead things off, and Kays sacrficed her over to second. A passed ball got Marauszwski to third, and she scored when Wells reached on a dropped third strike to make it 1-1. Wells then advanced on a wild pitch and passed ball before Kayle O'Brien dropped a single into right field to plate Wells and give Wahconah a 2-1 lead.
In the third, Worthington worked a two-out walk and came home when O'Brien doubled down the line in left to tie it.
That's where it stood for the next three frames.
Wahconah won its fourth straight and improved to 12-2 on the season. It also gained some valuable experience against the 2017 Vermont Division 1 champion and 2018 state runner-up.
"This is why we schedule each other," Belcher said of Mount Anthony. "We have good battles. And this is a good time. I told the girls before the game: This is a good tournament test. We're going to have to go out there, we're going to have to do things well in order to survive.
"We weren't perfect, but we had to survive through some of that, which I thought we did a good job with with our defense. Abby was terrific in the circle.
"And we got a timely hit."