McGowan's Pizzaland clung to a one-run lead over A Bead of Roses in the Women's Softball Championship Game at Wolfe Park Friday evening, before breaking the game open with three runs in the top of the seventh for a 5-1 victory.
A Bead of Roses finished the regular season in first place with a 10-2 record with both loses being forfeits. Their record included wins in all three head-to-head contests with 9-3 McGowan's, who finished in second place. But McGowan's held A Bead of Roses' bats in check Friday, as the A Bead of Roses' hitters struggled to get a rhythm going at the plate.
Kim Cassia, coach of McGowan's, praised her team for coming through in the postseason.
"They played exceptional tonight," she said. "I'm proud of them all. When it counts, it counts."
A Bead of Roses was still in striking distance in the top of the 7th, trailing 2-1 before McGowan's offense came to life.
Cassia led off the inning with a single to right-center. Then Jaimie Waggaman came in as a pinch runner.
Doc Fischetti followed with a single, then Krisanne Laudenslager came in as a pinch runner for her.
A Bead of Roses pitcher Anne Beaudoin got Patty Fogel to fly out to left center for the first out of the inning.
With runners on first and second, Mary Martinik rapped a single to load the bases.
Diane Rivera hit a ground ball and A Bead of Roses got a force out at second, but not before Waggaman scored from third, increasing McGowan's lead to 3-1.
Elaine Brown belted a double scoring Laudenslager making it 4-1. A Bead of Roses nearly got out of the inning when Rivera tried to make it to third base, but Rivera slid under the tag.
The scoring ended with Stephanie Nedoszytko's RBI single that brought in Rivera to make it 5-1.
A Pitcher's Duel
Pitchers for both teams — Doc Fischetti for McGowan's and Anne Beaudoin for A Bead of Roses — were locked in a pitchers' duel for most of the game, tossing shutouts through the first three innings.
McGowan's opened the scoring in the top of the fourth.
Nedoszytko led off the inning with a long drive over the left-center fielder's head for a triple. Teammate, Barb Markelz, immediately capitalized on the scoring opportunity with an RBI single in the next at bat.
Waggaman hit a single to put runners on first and second with no outs.
Laudenslager popped out on an infield fly rule and Markelz made it to third.
Lisa Pane hit a ground ball for the second out, but Markelz scored on the play, making it a 2-0 lead for McGowan's.
Then Beaudoin got Cassia to ground into a force out at second to end the rally.
A Bead of Roses didn't score until the bottom of the fifth.
It looked like Louise Klutch had a single to shallow left to lead off the inning, before McGowan's left fielder Martinik made a sliding catch.
But then Kelly Larsen hit a bullet down the first base line for a single.
Beaudoin flew out to left for the second out, before Val Saltzman got her team on the board with an RBI triple to left center.
The extra-base hit narrowed McGowan's lead to 2-1, but A Bead of Roses would get no closer.