WLC softball team’s run stopped by Derryfield

It’s tough to win playoff games, even in Division IV, when a third of the roster hasn’t even hit high school.

Yet here was the amazing band of upstart softballers from Wilton-

Lyndeborough, seeded 11th, and pulling even with No. 7 Derryfield at 6-6 in the sixth inning of the state semifinals.

“It was that close,” said WLC coach Dennis Claire of a tough call on a bang-bang play at home that prevented a blockbuster sixth for the Warriors, who were forced to settle for the deadlock.

Going to the seventh, Claire knew his group was up against sending the bottom third of the order to the plate, and Derryfield had its heart coming up.

Derryfield cleanup hitter Erika Wentz launched a triple and Taylor Santosuosso ended the upset bid with a clean base hit as the Cougars stopped the Cinderella Warriors, 7-6, in a walkoff.

“We were down 5-1 and we didn’t score more than one run against them in either game this year,” said Claire. “It didn’t look too good, but we battled back. They don’t quit.

“My girls definitely overachieved this year. We’ve got two more years with everybody, plus the seventh and eighth graders. They battled back. They played hard. They made mistakes.”

But man did the Warriors fight. Down 5-1, they just chipped away.

Lexi Balam tripled and scored in the third, and then after a Derryfield error, Emma Skelly crunched an RBI double to deep center, making it 5-3.

Another Balam triple in the fourth helped W-L knot things at 5-5.

Down 6-5 in the sixth, that’s when the call of the game happened, with Wilton forced to settle for one.

Skelly again had a huge two-out hit to tie the game, but the upset was not meant to be.

“Just getting here was a big thrill,” Claire said. “At the beginning of the year, we thought we’d be lucky to win five games. We ended up doing pretty darn well. I’m proud of them.

“I’m so glad we got here. There were 17 other teams that didn’t.”