It came down to an extra-inning affair against division rivals that ultimately decided the champion of this year’s Union County slow pitch tournament.
Having lost to West Union early last week, Ingomar again was in a close game with the Lady Eagles, which went to extra innings and fell on the shoulders of one of the Lady Falcons’ seniors.
Tied with two outs and a runner on third and two strikes against her, Reid Little had the game-winning hit for Ingomar, plating Heather Dillard to give the Lady Falcons the 9-8 win over the Lady Eagles.
“I was so nervous, and I knew that I had to do my job as a senior and finish the game for us,” Little said. “It was nerve wrecking, but I pulled it through and did my job.”
Though Little may have had doubts, her teammate at third had complete faith that she could pull through for the team.
“I knew for sure she was going to get the hit,” Dillard said. “Coach Andy (Wilbanks) told her to hit it to a certain place, and that’s exactly where she hit it. It was the best feeling in the world.”
The two teams battled back and forth with Ingomar taking its first lead in the bottom of the first. Trailing 2-0, Amy Fooshee had an RBI double, followed by Mallory Adair and Lauren Koon bringing in runs, making it 3-2. West Union would tie the game in the second and take a one-run lead in the third after a Lady Falcon error plated the go-ahead run.
West Union errors again gave Ingomar the 5-4 lead in the bottom of the third, but Julianna Garner brought in the tying run in the fourth to tie the game at five. Koon put Ingomar ahead in the fifth on an RBI single and with bases loaded in the sixth for the Lady Eagles, Hannah McQuary walked to tie the game at six, which was the score going into extra innings.
Neither team scored in the eighth after going into the international tiebreaker, and West Union took an 8-6 lead in the ninth afer an error plated Brittany Taylor and Jesslyn Brewer brought in a run on a sac fly. In Ingomar’s half of the inning, Dillard and Kate Webb brought in runs to tie the game before Little’s game-winning hit.
“It was a struggle for both of us for a while,” Wilbanks said. “It seemed like neither one of us wanted to win, and neither could get it done with runners in scoring position, but it’s softball. We found a way, and we’ll take it.”
Ingomar also had convincing wins in the tournament, defeating New Albany, 12-0 and Myrtle, 10-1, to take the title. In the opening game against East Union, however, the Lady Falcons battled from a 5-2 deficit to beat the Lady Urchins, 10-5.
“We’ve been able to play seven innings lately, and that’s what counts,” Wilbanks said. “Coming back and playing a full game and not getting down, you can build confidence, and I think that’s the main thing we can take away from that.”
For Ingomar, this is the team’s first UCT title since 2010, and for the seniors, their second title in three years.
“It’s a great feeling to come out here and win it since it’s our last time to play,” Little said. “To win every game and to know we did it this time, it’s pretty awesome.”
Added Dillard, “We came out here and hit the ball really well and worked as a team, and in the end, it came out in our favor.”
And Wilbanks hopes that the confidence his team gained today will carry into division play.
“This is really good for our seniors, and I’m really proud of them,” he said. “We played good softball at times today, and we struggled at times today, but we found a way to win, and that’s what counts. Hopefully, we’ll take a lot of confidence from this weekend and carry it over into division play.”
East Union finished second, having only lost to the Lady Falcons. East Union had wins over West Union (5-4), New Albany (6-3) and Myrtle (5-2). The Lady Eagles, Lady Bulldogs and Lady Hawks each finished with one win and three losses.
2012 Union County slow pitch tournament results
West Union 4 Myrtle 2
Ingomar 10 East Union 5
East Union 5 West Union 4
Ingomar 12 New Albany 0
Ingomar 9 West Union 8 (9 innings)
Myrtle 8 New Albany 2
East Union 6 New Albany 3
Ingomar 10 Myrtle 1
New Albany 8 West Union 0
East Union 5 Myrtle 2