Gettysburg began the 2021 campaign on fire, winning 11 of its first 12 games.
But a swoon that saw the Warriors drop five of six threatened to keep them from qualifying for the District 3-5A playoffs.
This week, though, the Maroon and White righted the ship with a pair of victories, including a 7-1 win over visiting Fairfield to close out the regular season in softball action Wednesday afternoon.
“Our momentum was really slowed with those losses,” senior catcher Rachel Keller said. “But these two wins should get us going heading into districts.”
Gettysburg head coach Max Laing added, “We felt like our chances to get in were still good, even after we lost five of six. But we got back on track this week and hopefully it carries over.”
The Warriors will begin district play on Tuesday, on the road at an opponent to be determined at a time to be announced.
“We have eight seniors this year and they definitely had playoff aspirations before the season started,” Laing said. “I’m really proud of this group of girls. They’ve worked hard to get here.”
The victory establishes a new program record for wins in a year for the Warriors, besting the previous mark set in 2012 and matched in 2015.
“We’ve had this group together for years,” Keller said. “We didn’t know what the record was until Coach told us partway through the season. Once we found out, it became a goal of ours to break it.”
Gettysburg (14-6) got on the board with a three-spot in the bottom of the first with senior Ella Andras striking the big blow as she hit a two-run double to plate Kaelyn Blocher and Keller. Andras ended up circling the bases due to a throwing error on the play.
Keller’s single chased home Makayla Shafer in the second, then an Andras knock scored Blocher in the fourth.
Meanwhile, Gettysburg senior Jenna Brasee was setting the Knights down from the circle.
Brasee issued a one-out free pass in the first, but the runner was gunned down by Keller trying to steal second to end the inning.
Fairfield (9-8) finally registered its first hit of the contest when Cailin Swam singled to lead off the fifth and she made it to third with one down on a ground out and wild pitch, but was stranded there when Brasee retired the next two hitters.
Gettysburg struck for two more in the fifth with Berit Miller and Jordyn Schachle coming through with RBI singles.
Fairfield scored its only run of the game in the sixth when Sarah Devilbiss singled home Ellie Snyder with the bases loaded and no outs.
Unfortunately for the Knights, Brasee wiggled off the hook with a strikeout, pop out and groundout.
“Jenna got in trouble once today, but she did well to only allow one run in that inning,” Laing said. “We also knocked in runs when we had the chance to score today and that’s something that we weren’t doing when we were losing games. We’d get runners on, but not until there were two outs and we couldn’t come through with the clutch hits.”
Brasee grabbed the win for the hosts as she went the route and allowed one unearned run and three hits with six punch outs and three walks. She threw 66 strikes out her 112 pitches.
Meanwhile, the Gettysburg offense put together a 12-hit attack with two knocks each from Blocher, Keller, Andras and Abby Hurst.
Fairfield (9-9) also secured a district berth and the Knights will participate in the Class 2A bracket, which will begin for them on the road next Thursday against an opponent to be determined at a time to be announced.
“I’ve got four girls that had never played softball before this year, not even at the rec level,” Fairfield head coach Terry Weikert said. “They’ve put in so much work and shown a lot of improvement since the start of the season.”
He continued, “Our goals before the year were to finish .500 during the regular season and to qualify for districts. We did both of those things and I’m very proud of the girls.”
Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas
Fairfield 000 001 0 — 1 3 5
Gettysburg 310 120 X — 7 12 1
Kira Weikert, Ellie Snyder (6) and Sarah Devilbiss; Jenna Brasee and Rachel Keller. WP: Brasee. LP: Weikert. SO-BB: F-Weikert 4-2, Snyder 1-2; G-Brasee 6-3. 2B: G-Ella Andras.