No lie: Waterford defeats Fitch and moves on to Masuk
Waterford — Others in Melanie Martin’s position Tuesday would have told a little white lie, the one about how, no, nobody was looking ahead and everybody was locked into the moment.
But then this was Melanie Martin, truth-teller: “At some point in this game, yes, there was a little feeling of getting to the next one. We needed to focus and finish this one as a team. And we did.”
Some context for clarity: “This one” was Waterford High’s Class L first-round state tournament softball game with Fitch, an eventual 4-0 win that sets up Wednesday’s “next one.” That’s a date with four-time defending state champion Masuk, which beat Waterford in last season’s Class L title game and blanked the Lancers earlier this season.
“I knew they were thinking about Masuk today,” Waterford coach Andy Walker said. “Part of it is probably the familiarity with Fitch. We’ve had success against them (7-1, 1-0 wins earlier this year). We know who’s waiting for us. The four-time defending champs.”
The 13th-seeded Lancers needed a crisp one hour, 10 minutes to keep their season alive. Sophomore (and chronic strike thrower) Brielle Kenney pitched a four-hitter with no walks and seven strikeouts. Waterford’s defense executed a perfect relay to extinguish a run at home plate and Martin doubled, homered and drove in two runs.
Waterford (16-7) snapped a scoreless tie in the fourth when Grace Muti’s RBI double scored Charlotte Jessuck. Muti scored on Martin’s double to make it 2-0 before Emelia Podeszwa’s sacrifice fly scored Martin.
No. 20 Fitch (12-11) had a chance in the fifth when Sydney Lyon’s drive to deep center had a chance to score Gabriella Amaral. Except that center fielder Paige Jessuck retrieved it quickly and fired it to Podeszwa, whose howitzer to home plate left Martin waiting for Amaral with the ball.
“We work on that every day. You have no idea how many times,” Martin said. “We use imaginary runners. Do you know how hard it is to throw out an imaginary runner? But when she turned third, I knew (Podeszwa) has a great arm. I felt pretty good about what was going to happen.”
Martin made it 4-0 with a solo homer in the sixth, a leadoff shot that bounced past the scoreboard in deep right center.
“When I hit that, it felt pretty good,” Martin said. “And then I heard everybody start yelling.”
And now comes the Lancers’ version of the Great White Whale in Masuk.
“We have to go out there (Wednesday) with anger and attack them,” Martin said. “I have full faith in us.”
Walker chuckled upon hearing Martin’s assessment, saying, “I don’t think there’s anything I can add to that.”
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