LAKEVILLE – One mighty swing of her bat made memories that will last a lifetime for Andrea Snavley Saturday.
Snavley connected for an RBI double with one out in the bottom of the final inning to lift her No. 10 Wildcats to a thrilling 1-0 win over No. 3 South Adams in a Class 2-A clash in the LaVille Semistate at Newton Park.
The Whitko senior’s heroic blast to the left field fence plated Ellie Snep all the way from first base to send Whitko to the win in its first-ever semistate appearance.
The No. 10 Wildcats, now 24-5, return to Newton Park tonight at 7 p.m. to face No. 1 Elwood (26-4) in the semistate finale. The winner advances to the Class 2-A state championship game on June 10 at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis.
Elwood, in the semistate for the third time in the last four years, beat No. 11 and last year’s state runner-up Boone Grove 2-0 in the first semifinal Saturday. Boone Grove, making its third straight semistate appearance, finishes at 23-4.
Snavley, the No. 5 hitter in the Whitko lineup, had a postgame smile as big as her hit following the gigantic victory.
“This means the World to me,” said Snavley, one of three seniors for the Wildcats. “This season is the best opportunity that I have ever had in athletics. It’s just an amazing feeling.”
Snavley crushed the first pitch she saw from senior Katelin Augsburger over the left fielder’s head. Snep, who had treated on a one-out single, scored easily on the blast.
“We had talked all week about how she liked to throw a first pitch fastball and I was going to swing at it,” Snavley remarked. “I knew that I hit it good, but I had no idea where Elle was. I saw her score and I couldn’t believe it happened. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending. I couldn’t imagine anything this great.”
Whitko had just one hit and had struck out 13 times until Snep’s single and Snavley’s game winner.
Sophomore Snep was simply unflappable in the circle to keep zeros on the board for the Starfires. She gave up five hits, but made every big pitch she needed for the shutout. She got the two biggest outs of the game in the top of the sixth inning with a strikeout and a groundout back to her with runners on second and third.
“I knew if I kept the ball away from there that they would just be able to dink it,” said Snep, who had 10 stritkeouts in improving her pitching mark to 20-4. “My defense was there to back me up and that’s definitely a big reason why we got out of a couple of jams.
“When I was on first base, I had all the confidence that Andrea would get a hit. It’s just a great feeling to win a game like this one. All of our emotions were just built up until the end. Winning sectional was our main goal this season and this is just an incredible feeling to be in the semistate championship game now.”
The Starfires, who finish at 23-4, left a runner stranded on second base in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings. South Adams also had a runner caught stealing in the third after a leadoff single.
“Ellie just has nerves of steel,” said Whitko coach Michele Garr of her ace. “She trusts her defense and is not rattled easily.
“I knew that one of them (Ellie and Andrea) would hit eventually for us. It was just a matter of time and what great timing by them.
“It was just crazy happiness there at the end. South Adams is a great team. This is just gravy for us right now. But we want to do more for our community. They have just been unbelievable for us with their support this season.”
Junior Anna Ousley had a one-out double in the fourth inning for Whitko’s first hit of the game. Augsburger, one of three seniors for South Adams, then struck out the next two Wildcats to end the threat.
South Adams had allowed just 37 runs all season entering play on Saturday.