It looked to be a failed squeeze play when freshman Bella McBride struck out.
However, McBride used her scruples by blocking the catcher’s view that allowed her classmate, Abby Bergdorf, to score standing up from third base.
That play gave the Woodridge softball team a one-run lead in the top of the seventh inning and turned out to be the winning run in the Bulldogs’ 4-3 victory over host Vermilion last Saturday as part of the Vermilion Invitational.
"It was certainly a thrilling way to win the game," said Woodridge head coach Dan Schneider.
Later that day, also at Vermilion, Woodridge lost 5-1 to Bellevue. Then on Monday, the Bulldogs beat Portage Trail Conference Metro Division rival Field 2-1 at home.
In Woodridge’s win over Vermilion, the home team took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, but the Bulldogs answered by taking a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth.
The Sailors forged back ahead 3-2 in the sixth inning. Woodridge’s seventh-inning heroics began when senior first baseman Sydney Shaheen scored on a double by junior Caitlin Raid.
On that same play, Bergdorf, who had come in as a courtesy runner for senior catcher Sage Jenkins, advanced from first base to third before scoring on the squeeze play.
Jenkins had gotten aboard by singling, as did Shaheen. Junior shortstop Brayden Wigal doubled.
On the mound, McBride started and went 5 2/3 innings, striking out two batters and walking one.
Raid replaced her and pitched the final 1 1/3 innings, fanning three and walking one.
"Caitlin cleaned up house. We were pretty proud of her," said Schneider. "She really stepped up her game. She came in and got the job done."
On April 20 at Vermilion, Woodridge was the victim of a jaw-dropping pitching performance in an 8-0 loss to Pemberville Eastwood.
A junior for the Eagles not only pitched a perfect game, she allowed only one ball in play, a pop-up to the shortstop by Raid in the fifth inning. She faced 21 batters and struck out 20 of them.
"That girl was probably the best pitcher we’ve seen in a while," Schneider said. "She had a pretty good fastball, but it wasn’t the speed of her pitches as much as the movement. She had a good rise ball.
"We got desperate and kept chasing, and she just kept throwing up and out. It was interesting, she called her own game from the rubber. They used a number system off her wristband."
For Woodridge, Raid went the distance, yielding 11 hits while striking out eight and walking one.
Eastwood scored a run each in the third and fourth innings and three each in the fifth and sixth.
In the loss to Bellevue, Woodridge managed only three hits and committed six errors but actually took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Wigal, who had led off with a single, eventually scored on a fielder’s choice by Raid.
Also singling for Woodridge were Shaheen and Jenkins.
The Lady Redmen took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning and added another run in the third and two more in the sixth.
Wigal started on the mound but faced only three batters, all of whom she walked. Raid replaced her and went the rest of the way, fanning six and walking four.
"Caitlin had a little rough patch, but she turned it around and settled down," said Schneider. "We just couldn’t get anything going offensively. We put the ball in play, but we weren’t driving the ball."
In the win over Field, Woodridge took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Wigal led off with a single and Shaheen doubled her home. Shaheen eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Jenkins.
The Falcons tallied their only run on a homer in the top of the sixth.
Wigal and McBride both had a pair of singles.
Raid went the distance, giving up five hits while striking out 10 and walking just one.
"Caitlin didn’t throw anything they could really hit," the coach said.
Woodridge’s record moved to 5-7 overall.
As part of the Racers Grand Slam Friday, Woodridge is scheduled to play Warren Howland at Firestone Stadium at 4 p.m. and Danville at Firestone-Pony at 8:30 p.m. Then on Saturday, the Bulldogs are scheduled to oppose Houston High at Diamond Crystal at 1:15 p.m.
Woodridge is scheduled to play a home-and-home with Ravenna at home Monday and on the road Tuesday before hosting Coventry May 3. All three games are Metro Division contests and are set to start at 4:30 p.m.
The Bulldogs are scheduled to travel to Field May 5 at 11 a.m.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_RPC