In a 10-2 game in a meeting of non-league teams, visiting Willard and host Norwalk combined to put up nine runs in the seventh inning of Thursday’s 15-6 win for the Crimson Flashes.
For Norwalk (1-18), it was a team that played potentially its last game of the season. Meanwhile, Willard (10-6) has a Division II sectional championship game at 5 p.m. today at Tiffin Columbian (14-6).
“A good win for us,” Willard coach Fred Mock said. “Coming in, I’m always apprehensive being the pessimist that I am with a tournament game (today). I was hoping girls would not look ahead, and they definitely did not.
“They came out and answered the bell right away,” he added. “We scored a couple runs in the first and continued to roll from there. It was good to see.”
Maddie Secor was hit by a pitch and scored on an RBI single by Jena Adams with two outs in the first to start the scoring. A passed ball on a potential third out strike got by the catcher allowing Adams to come around and score for a 2-0 Willard lead.
Secor singled in the second and scored on an RBI double from Cathern Hamons to plate a third run, and Kaiten Weiss added an over-the-fence solo home run to right for a 4-0 lead through three innings.
Cathern Hamons added a two-run single that scored C. Gibson and Secor in the fourth, while Haylie Hamons followed with a line drive double to center to plate two more runs for a 7-0 lead.
Willard extended the lead to 9-0 on a two-run single by Elli White.
With today’s tournament game pending, Mock took out starting pitcher Morgan Hamons after four scoreless innings. She allowed three hits and struck out three with one walk on 55 pitches (41 strikes).
Melayna Mahl went the last three innings, and the Norwalk offense was able to string some key extra base hits to keep the game going.
Skylarr Story hit an opposite field over-the-fence home run to right for the first Norwalk run. Maddie Deiderick then hit an RBI triple that scored Karissa Conrad, who reached on a fielder’s choice after Sydnee Hughes had singled.
Willard made it 10-2 in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Becca Slone. Haylie Hamons added an RBI double in the seventh. Mahl then singled in a run, and Slone doubled in two more to make it 14-2.
Mahl closed the scoring by scoring from third on a ground out.
In the bottom of the seventh, Norwalk got three straight singles by Story, Hughes and Conrad to load the bases. Deiderick then singled to center to plate a run, and Leah Malson added a two-run double to make it 15-5.
The final Norwalk run came when Emma Kastor hit a ground ball that was bobbled, allowing Malson to score for the 15-6 deficit.
“The girls have shown a lot of growth from the beginning of the season to the end,” Norwalk coach Julia Schmidt said. “They’ve been through a lot of ups and downs this season, but I’m proud of the fight they have showed.
“They are coming together and support each other through the thick and the thin,” she added. “There have been some rough times, but they have been able to have each other’s backs and show a lot of fight.”
Secor finished 4 for 4 and scored all four times she was on base. Haylie Hamons was 3 for 5 with three RBIs, with Cathern Hamons, Adams and Becca Slone adding two hits each.
Willard is the No. 5 seed in the Edison district, while host Columbian is the No. 4 seed. The Crimson Flashes also host Port Clinton on Monday.
“We played everyone tonight and everybody had at least two at bats, as it was a good time to get everyone in,” Mock said.” The game didn’t really mean much, but it was still nice to see.
“I’m very pleased with the season so far,” he added. “We’ve played excellent defense all year, and it’s what we’ve stressed from Day 1.”
For Norwalk, Hughes was 3 for 4, with Deiderick, Malson and Story each finishing with two hits.
“This was potentially our last game of the season. We’re going to try and schedule some of our rainouts for next week, so we’ll see,” Schmidt said. “Even though the scoreboard doesn’t show it, we’ve made a lot of improvements throughout the season.
“Willard is a great team that is aggressive, and they just got the better of us today,” she added. “They had great hitting, and they had a lot of base hits turn into a lot of runs.”