Fisher claims first regional title in sport; SJ-O captures 31st.
FISHER — A year ago, Megan McCoy wasn’t a part of the Fisher softball team.
She couldn’t be. She was still in eighth grade.
But Fisher coach Ken Ingold would have taken the talented freshman if he could have for the 2012 season. The Bunnies were in dire need of players.
Patricia Webb had never played softball. She joined the Bunnies at the start of the 2012 season. Good thing, so Fisher could have at least nine players to field a team.
McCoy, Webb and the rest of the Fisher squad reaped the reward Saturday after the top-seeded Bunnies rallied for a thrilling 9-8 win against Salt Fork to win the Class 1A Fisher Regional championship.
“That’s a credit to the girls that hung in there,” Ingold said. “Pat Webb is not getting a ton of playing time this year, but if she didn’t go out last year, we wouldn’t have even had a team.”
And who knows if the situation that materialized Saturday would have happened. McCoy lashed a one-out double to right field that scored Kelcie Fredrickson and Molly Fairfield to give the Bunnies (15-9) a historic walkoff win.
Fisher will play Illini Bluffs at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in a sectional semifinal at Lewistown, the first time the Bunnies have made it this deep into the postseason in program history.
Webb is one of four seniors, along with standout Kalli Gosser, Sydney Baker and Nichole Tuttle, who will get to play at least one more softball game.
“They’ve been through some rough times,” Ingold said. “They’ve kept a good attitude. I’m really happy for them to finally get that regional plaque.”
Fisher led 5-0 after the third inning before the second-seeded Storm (14-8) tied the game at 5 with five runs in the top of the fourth. Home runs by Lexi Smith (three RBI), Jenna Bryant and Logan Sanford cut into Fisher’s lead. McCoy — who picked up the win in relief of Fredrickson — tied the game at 7 with a two-run home run in the fifth before Salt Fork regained the lead, setting up the dramatic sequence of events in the bottom of the seventh.
“I feel blessed to be a part of it,” Ingold said. “Salt Fork just kept swinging and coming back. Our girls bounced back, though. It had to be a fun game to watch for the fans, even if it didn’t do much good for my blood pressure.”
St. Joseph-Ogden 12, Westville 5. The top-seeded Spartans stole 16 bases en route to their 31st regional title in school history, winning a 2A championship at Bismarck-Henning against the third-seeded Tigers.
Molly McElwee led the charge on the base paths with five stolen bases and added two hits. Mady Poulter drove in four runs for SJ-O (29-3) while Samantha Fleming added three hits, two RBI, two stolen bases and three runs.
“It starts us off and really puts pressure on the defense with the stolen bases,” SJ-O coach Randy Wolken said. “They have to rush things a little bit, and our girls kept pounding the ball.”
Carson Richardson had three hits and drove in a run while Bobbi Morris added two hits for Westville (13-10).
Monticello 5, Unity 4. Monticello used a 4-for-4 performance from Samantha Valentine to win the program’s first 2A regional title since 2009. Valentine supplied two doubles and a triple for the top-seeded Sages (18-6) at St. Thomas More while Allie Hislope (two RBI) and Chrissy Gadbury (double, RBI) contributed.
“We were very excited,” Monticello coach Courtney Hoffman said. “Our seniors had not yet won a regional, so that was our goal all season. That’s all we talked about was working toward that regional championship. Somehow we held on.”
Lacy Pruitt went 3 for 3 with a double while McKenzie Krutsinger (double, RBI) and Taylor Stark (double) chipped in.
Arcola 16, Shiloh 11. The second-seeded Purple Riders had strong offensive games from Kayli Seaman (3 for 4, four RBI), Laynee Clark (3 for 4, three RBI) and Sydney Spelman (3 for 4, three RBI) to win a 1A regional title at Broadlands.
Desiree Brown (3 for 4, three RBI) and Lauren Moses (3 for 4, two RBI) led Shiloh’s offense.
LeRoy 1, Heyworth 0. Kolleen Fannin drove in Alyssa Aupperle for the game’s only run in the bottom of the fourth to help the host Panthers win the program’s first 1A regional title.