SYRACUSE – Whitko knew Wawasee was really, really good. Even so far as noting it over and over after both games of its involvement in the Wawasee Softball Invite were finished. But someone should mention Whitko is really, really good as well.
“That’s a good ball club over there and when the good teams put the pressure on us, we get pushed back on our heels and don’t overcome it,” said Wawasee head coach Mike Barger of Whitko, which beat Wawasee 4-2 in the championship game of the Invite. “Hats off to Whitko, they came in here and just beat us.”
The Wildcats, which beat a feisty South Bend Clay team to get to the final, only had nine with them in the dugout for a variety of reasons. But those nine, led by Ellie Snep in the circle, did a number on the hosts in the championship game.
Whitko put the pressure on early, loading the bases in the first then getting a pair of RBI groundouts from Shianna Bradley and Andrea Snavely. After Wawasee got one back in the bottom of the first on a throwing error, Whitko responded with an RBI double from Anna Ousley.
The quick lead seemed to stun Wawasee, which had just finished a week of Northern Lakes Conference ball that had the team outscore its three victims 29-4 and crush Rochester, 8-1, in the morning game of the Invite. The hesitation was all Ellie Snep needed, who was masterful against the potent Wawasee lineup.
Snep didn’t allow a hit after the third inning, and only allowed two base runners the final four innings. After Wawasee got the score within 3-2 on an RBI groundout by Ale Brito, Snep helped her cause with an RBI single in the fourth to go back up 4-2.
“We were all tired today, so we kept each other up and knew if we played our best, we could win this,” Snep said, who also got the win in game one. “It’s good to know when I pitch, if they put the ball into play I have a great defense behind me, it doesn’t matter the hitter. Someone like (Meghan) Fretz, you just have to keep the ball away from her so she can’t drive it.”
Fretz, who leads Wawasee with 15 hits and 18 RBIs, only drew a walk in the first but was otherwise quiet. Snep only struck out three, but gave up just two hits to a Wawasee team that collectively is hitting .336 on the year through the weekend.
“I’m just proud of them,” said Whitko head coach Michele Garr, whose club won its first-ever Wawasee Invite title. “It’s that never give up attitude. We only brought nine, and were really happy to just be playing today. This is amazing, and I hope we can keep this going.
“Ellie has nerves of steel, you never know if she is having a good or a bad day,” continued Garr of Snep. “She’s been so great for us. I’m really proud of her and all of these kids.”
Fretz threw six total innings against Whitko, giving up just four hits, but walked four and was on the hook for all four runs.
Whitko moves to 11-1 overall with the championship while Wawasee’s split puts them at 10-2.
Whitko 8, South Bend Clay 2
Snep fired a three-hitter as Whitko topped a young Clay squad. Addison Warner doubled for the Colonials.
Wawasee 8, Rochester 1
Amber Lemberg threw a gutty game against Rochester, giving up four hits and no earned runs just days after losing a grandparent. Fretz and Aubrey Kuhn doubled in the victory.
South Bend Clay 9, Rochester 1
Warner hit two homers, a solo and a grand slam, while going 4-for-4 with five RBIs. Alexis Love added two hits and two RBIs for Clay. South Bend Clay and Rochester both are 6-6 on the season.