Most hitters feel a good bit of pressure when they step to the plate with a chance to win the game for their team.
The same could not be said for Gettysburg’s Aubreigh DeFriece ahead of her walk-off double to lift the Warriors past visiting Bermudian Springs, 5-4, on Monday.
That’s not because DeFriece is immune to pressure. Instead, she said after the game, it’s because she wasn’t aware that her hit had even won the game for the Warriors.
“No, I didn’t even know,” she said of whether she realized she’d ended the game with her line drive to left center field. “I was very nervous and I didn’t even know that I was going to hit and (Gettysburg coach Max Laing) just said ‘you’re going in’. Having struck out two times today I was just very nervous.”
DeFriece’s double knocked in the third of three runs in the seventh to cap a come-from-behind victory that moves the hosts to 12-3 on the year, one win shy of a school record for a season.
It was Gettysburg which seized control early in the contest as Rachel Keller tripled to score Kaelyn Blocher, and later scored herself on an Ella Andras sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 after the first inning.
From that point on, Warriors’ starter Jenna Brasee stole the show. Over the next five innings, Brasee struck out 10 batters and allowed just three base runners, quieting the Eagles’ (9-6) bats for much of the contest.
“Jenna really controlled things and took care of business there for the first six,” Laing said. “Then her teammates really had her back there in the end.”
On offense, the Warriors were able to put multiple runners on base in the second, third and sixth innings, but each time they were unable to drive anyone home as Bermudian starter Tori Murren worked her way out of a number of jams.
“Tori did a nice job there stranding a lot of runners,” Laing said after the game. “She got out of a lot of situations and really did it time in, time out throughout the game.”
The Eagles got on the board in the fifth inning as Maddie Reever flared a single to centerfield that scored Hannah Chenault, but Brasee was able to limit the damage to just one.
After a shutdown sixth for both pitchers, Bermudian made the Warriors pay for the lack of insurance runs in the top of the seventh.
Natalie Patton started the inning by reaching on an error by Andras. Chenault then singled to left to put runners on first and second. One batter late, facing a 3-2 count, Murren flipped the game on its head. The Eagles’ junior laced a Brasee pitch over the head of Gettysburg center fielder Abby Hurst and into the gap for a go-ahead double that scored both Patton and Chenault.
Murren later scored on error to push the Eagles’ lead to 4-2, but Brasee was able to stem the tide and keep her team’s deficit at just two headed to its half of the seventh.
The Warriors never panicked.
“I just asked who wanted to be the hero,” Laing said. “And they stepped up. We talked about different scenarios and it became a game of situational moves there at as far as who ended up getting that last opportunity.”
Murren started the final inning strongly as she forced Brasee into a groundout to third base for the first out of the innings. Blocher then reached first after beating out a throw on a swinging bunt back to Murren, but Keller grounded out to make it two down with Blocher advancing to second on the play.
That’s when things got tense.
In the following at-bat, Murren got ahead of Andras 1-2 before Blocher advanced to third on a passed ball. After another ball brought the count full, Andras hammered a triple to the right center field fence, bringing the score to 4-3 and putting herself just 60 feet away from tying the game.
She did just that moments later, scoring on a passed ball to make it 4-4 before an Emily Delacruz walk put the winning run on first. An Abby Hurst single made it runners at first and second with two down as DeFriece stepped to the plate.
The Warriors’ junior looked at a pair of pitches to go ahead in the count, 2-0. She then took a strike bringing it to 2-1. On the next pitch, however, she found one she liked, hammering the ball to left field, scoring pinch runner Katelyn Keller and sending the Gettysburg dugout into chaos.
“I was just looking for something to hit and trying not to swing at any bad pitches,” she said of the game-winning hit. “I didn’t know it was over until my team came running out.”
The come-from-behind victory stops a two-game skid for a Warriors team that sits 10th in D3-5A power rankings, just six spots above the cut line.
“We knew this one is important and we knew Bermudian is a really good team,” Laing said of the win. “Not only were we thinking we need to get back in the win column, but also we’re in a tight game throughout. There was nothing easy about this.”
Gettysburg will hope to parlay the victory into some momentum when it welcomes 11-3 Littlestown on Wednesday, while the Eagles, who sit fourth in D3-3A, host Eastern York that same day.
Bermudian Springs 000 000 4 — 4 7 2
Gettysburg 200 000 3 — 5 8 3
Tori Murren and Maddie Stephens. Jenna Brasee and Rachel Keller. WP: Brasee. LP: Murren. SO-BB: BS-Murren 3-5; G-Brasee 11-1. 2B: BS-Murren, G-Aubreigh DeFriece, Kaelyn Blocher. 3B: G-Ella Andras.