WARSAW — It was a good night to fight like a girl.
Draped in pink, both Warsaw and Wawasee’s softball teams were not only trying to beat each other, but also help beat cancer. In what became a nailbiter, Warsaw made its day in the sun count with a run in the bottom of the seventh to win 6-5. The night, however, was much more than wins and losses on the softball diamond.
“The girls did a great job of organization for this,” said Warsaw head coach Jim Speicher. “We are just excited to be a part of this. I’m glad it ended up being a good ballgame for everybody.
“It was more than just a softball game tonight. I think the girls learned a valuable piece of community service.”
“It’s a great idea, and I’m glad that they got a hold of us to participate,” added Wawasee head coach Cory Schutz. “It’s something that everybody needs to be made aware of. Everybody knows someone who had been touched by cancer. I think the kids were excited about it coming in.”
At the center of the cause was Warsaw senior Kendra Marshall, who took on most of the heavy lifting to put the event together. Half the proceeds, which included the ticket sales, bake sales and auctions on items that included a signed, game-used University of Alabama helmet and U of A softball, will go to Amy’s Angels to help college scholarships and the other half to Kosciusko County cancer charities.
“Everybody jumped on board that I asked to help out with it, it just became really fun to create,” Marshall said, whose grandma was stricken with breast cancer. “It means a lot to a lot of people. That was the biggest thing I found out doing it.”
Marshall had a say in the scoring, crushing a home run in the fifth inning to give Warsaw a commanding 5-0 lead. It looked like the Lady Tigers were well on its way, but Wawasee didn’t go down without a fight of its own.
An error and infield single put two runners on for the visitors, which carried on when Ashlynn Fisher ripped an RBI double to put Wawasee on the board. Another error, a walk and a bases loaded double by Amber Yoder pulled Wawasee within one.
Two batters later, Madi Anderson roped a single to right, shocking the home supporters with a 5-5 score.
Warsaw escaped further damage when Sam Malik lined out and Anderson was doubled off first, setting up Warsaw’s dramatic finish.
Kelsey Dotson doubled and reached third on a deep flyout by Kaitlin Wiley. Next up was Kayla Snider, who ripped a single up the middle to bring home Dotson.
“We go up five nothing, and tip our hats to Wawasee to score five to tie the game, but we get a little rally in the seventh and win it on a seeing-eye hit,” Speicher said. “That was a nice way to end this great day.”
The win gave Warsaw (10-5, 6-2 NLC) the season sweep of Wawasee (10-11, 4-4 NLC), with Cari O’Hara picking up the win again, giving up 10 hits and striking out just two.
Gabi Routson was the tough-luck losing pitcher for Wawasee, with just two earned runs credited to her total. Warsaw’s first four runs of the night were unearned, falling victim to three crucial Wawasee errors.
“In conference play, Gabi has given up 26 runs and only eight of those have been earned,” Schutz said. “We have beat ourselves. We have not truly been beaten by these other teams. They have hit the ball, we just can’t pick up the ball and throw it to a base for whatever reason. Until we can figure that out, we are going to struggle.”
Emily Stouder had a two-run single in the second inning that followed an RBI poke by Kara Dishman. A two-out error in the third allowed Marshall to score Warsaw’s fourth run.
The JV squads from both schools also participated in the pink feel, but Wawasee left Warsaw feeling green after a 13-4 win. Alexis Graber had four hits and drove in four runs to lead the Lady Warriors. Noelle Beck added three hits and a pair of RBIs for the Lady Warriors.