The Camden-Frontier softball team nearly panicked, down a run in the fifth inning of the district semifinals, but ultimately their bats heated up and several unsung heroes came through as the Redskins won their second consecutive district title.
The Redskins eked out a 6-5 eight-inning win over Reading in the semifinals before downing Pittsford 10-2 in the finals to win the program’s third district crown since 2000.
What makes this title special for head coach Melissa Warfield and her girls is how they got as much out of the talent they had as they possibly could.
“We’ve talked about before how Megan (Schwartzengraber) and Morgan (Warfield) are the only two girls who play year round. Most of these girls…the game doesn’t come easy to them and it’s a sport they take up in March and are done with in June,” she said. “I’m so proud of how hard they worked every day in practice and it is rewarding as a coach to see your team progress the way we have.”
One of those girls who has been working ever so diligently lately is Kim Bennett and her sweat paid dividends Friday.
After picking up a single in the semifinals, she went 4-for-4 with a double, triple and two RBI in the championship game, much to the delight of her coach.
“She’s been an up-and-down player who would have a hit one game and then go hitless for maybe the next three games,” Melissa Warfield said. “But she’s been working so hard in practice, on her stance and swing, and it was special to seeher have a big day.”
Helping her out in the championship game was the ever so consistent trio of Kara Bryner, Warfield and Schwartzengraber.
Bryner had two hits and two RBI, while Warfield had three hits and drove in two runs.
Schwartzengraber pitched a complete game three-hitter and struck out seven and walked four, while driving in two runs at the plate.
C-F had just a 2-0 lead after three innings of the finals, but a four-run fourth gave them a comfortable cushion they never relinquished.
Nicole Culbert pitched well in defeat, striking out seven and walking five in seven innings.
“I don’t know what it is, but for some reason it takes three or four innings almost every game for us to get our hitting and timing down,” Melissa Warfield said.
Luckily for Warfield and her girls their bats came through just in time in the semis.
Behind a pair of RBI from Kasie Owens, Reading jumped out to a 3-1 lead on the host Redskins before C-F took advantage of a pair of walks and several key hits in the fifth.
Morgan Warfield came through with an RBI double and Erika Poikey added a two-run single as the Redskins came storming back.
“It really just is all in our hitting,” Melissa Warfield said. “If it’s on, we’re on.”
After C-F took a 5-3 lead, the Rangers struck for two in the top of the seventh, but ultimately the home team came out on top.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Bryner drilled a line-drive toward third base which the Rangers were unable to field as Poikey crossed the plate for the winning run.
“I would say yeah, we panicked a little and got down for a little while, but we put things together and came through,” Melissa Warfield said.
Her daughter Morgan was stellar on the mound, striking out 14 and walking three while allowing just five hits and one earned run.
Schwartzengraber earned the win though, pitching the final inning to give the Rangers “a different look” as her head coach put it.
The Redskins shot themselves in the foot with three errors in the semis, but Melissa Warfield said Ashley Johns made a few huge plays at second base that almost made up for some of the Redskins’ self-inflicted trouble.
“Ashley made some plays at second base tonight…where she just got there somehow,” she said. “She’s just the most ball-smart player out there and I don’t know how she made some of the plays she did.”
In defeat, Owens struck out two and walked seven, while limiting the Redskins to four hits.
She added a double to go with her two RBI at the plate and Sydney Spragg also drove in a run.
While the Rangers up-and-down season has reached its conclusion, the 21-5 Redskins will continue their postseason run at the Homer regional next weekend.