TREMONT – Fieldcrest was all set and prepared to have to deal with Brimfield/Elmwood’s Montana Ledbetter.
Instead, the Indians went with their other ace in the softball pitching circle. That was Haley Wallace, who kept the Knights’ bats in check in a 6-1 victory in a regional semifinal on May 15.
One swing was the difference in the game, which occurred in the bottom of the first inning. With two aboard, Olivia Gilles took a one-ball, two-strike offering from Fieldcrest’s Alivia Tjaden over the fence down the left field line to put the Indians (28-8) on top 3-0.
“They have a really good hitting team,” pointed out Knights’ coach Liz Kay. “We were trying to keep them in the park. We were trying to work the corners as best we could.
“It’s a big momentum swing when the other team gets ahead of you. We battled back, but they got the momentum back.”
Fieldcrest (11-11) was held without a hit until Ella Goodrich singled with one out in the fifth. She eventually scored on a two-out single to right off the bat of Alyiah Fuchs to cut the B/E lead to 3-1.
After that, Wallace retired the next seven in a row. She threw 81 pitches, 62 for strikes, walked one and struck out 11, including six of the first nine.
According to Kay, the Knights were caught a bit off-guard Wallace got the ball rather than Ledbetter.
“I was surprised. I was expecting to see her (Ledbetter),” she commented. “I think our hitting was off. She (Wallace) did well. She threw strikes. We wanted to make contact, put the ball in play and get runners on base.”
Goodrich and Fuchs had the only two Knights’ hits. Tjaden dropped to 7-7, as she allowed six runs on eight hits.
Gilles tacked on a two-run single in the fifth, while Ledbetter and Alex Updike added two hits apiece.
Tremont knocked off the Indians 1-0 in the May 18 championship game.
Notes: Ledbetter is the younger sister of junior Morgan Ledbetter, who hit a single season record of 17 home runs this past season to power Eureka College to a Division III tournament berth.