By RUSSELL JONES
The Otter Valley softball team hosted their third playoff game and for the third straight game they raised the collective blood pressures of their coaches and fans as they came back from the brink of elimination to win against U-32 by a score of 11-10.
In what has become typical fashion for the Otter squad, they came back in the late innings after being down several runs. In the semifinals game on Tuesday, June 4, they were down 10-3 as they went to the plate in the bottom of the fifth. Going into the sixth, they were down 10-5.
U-32’s defense let them down in the sixth, allowing OV to score four runs without a single hit.
The parents and fans on the sidelines sported t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase ‘Otters Never Give Up’ and in the seventh inning with two on, Mia Politano hit a single to right field that scored Jadynn Pope to tie the game and moved Shayla Phillips to third. Livia Bernhardt stepped up to the plate and hit an infield single, barely beating the throw to first as the winning run came in to score and send the Otters to Castleton.
Morgan LaPorte got the complete game win. It wasn’t fancy, she had no strikeouts in the game, but she did her job and held U-32 scoreless for the final three innings while her team rallied around her and fought back.
Her pitching has been consistent all season, and her teammates know what to expect from her. She throws strikes, repeatedly. In the final three innings against U-32 she allowed two hits while not walking any batters. She threw strikes and allowed her defense, anchored by Bernhardt and Bella Falco at shortstop and second base, to make plays behind her.
The Otters will face Mt. Abe in the final. Mt. Abe is the one-seed in the tournament but both teams come in with a 15-4 record and the Otters posted a victory over Mt. Abe in regular season play. The championship game will take place at 4:15 p.m. at Castleton’s Spartan Field on Friday, June 7.