The Times West Virginian

Sports

May 6, 2014

East downs FSHS, NMHS to take control of sectional: PHOTOS

RIVESVILLE — The mission was simple: win two and take control. That’s exactly what East Fairmont did Monday at Rivesville Middle School, beating Fairmont Senior and No. 7 North Marion to become one game away from advancing into the next phase of the postseason. That game will be played at 6 p.m. today against the winner of the Fairmont Senior-North Marion elimination game.

But even though his team is in the driver’s seat, that seat is not a comfortable one for East coach John Postlewait.

“I wouldn’t say comfortable,” he said. “(North’s) a quality team. They’ve showed that all season. We’ve got to keep our focus tomorrow and keep our same intensity and energy level because they’re going to. It puts us in the driver’s seat but it doesn’t win anything yet.”

It took until the final inning to decide who would win, a fitting end to a storied softball rivalry.

With one out in the top half of the seventh inning, Bailey Frederick dug in at the plate and drew a one-out walk. She then stole second base, being called safe after a near-collision with North Marion shortstop Taylor Wells on the slide and tag.

But that set the stage for what would win the game.

Tori Postlewait, the Bees’ offensive leader, hit what seemed to be a routine fly ball. Instead, Rachel Wiley and Mattie Polling each called the ball and neither of them caught it. With two outs, Postlewait gave Frederick the gameplan.

“(It) was just to run everything on contact and run everything out,” Frederick said. “He said that every play you never know what can happen. And that ended up being the winning run. Everything is important. You can’t take anything lightly.”

The play was described as “uncharacteristic” and “a miscommunication” by North Marion Brad Harker and, indeed, the incident was uncharacteristic of a defense that had been playing so well behind starting pitcher Chelsi Latocha all game, and all season, in fact.

“I think both of them called it. It was just unfortunate,” Harker said. “That happens.”

The resilient Lady Huskies, though, had one last shot in the bottom of the inning to tie things up, something they had done earlier in the game with a two-run fourth inning to give them new life.

But they couldn’t get it done, falling one-two-three in order to Tori Postlewait and the Bees.

Having pitched all 5.0 innings of the first game, allowing just two hits, Tori Postlewait knew she had to trust the defense behind her to make plays. And that’s what they did.

“I was feeling good,” Tori Postlewait said. “I trusted my defense. They were doing their job so it was all good.”

The game went much the way one would expect a game between the two rivals to go, runs coming at a premium.

East struck first when Cassidy Toothman singled and later scored on a pass ball. Then, in the top of the fourth, Tori’s sister, Sydney, blasted a solo home run over the left-center wall to put the Bees up 2-0, the only earned run against Latocha in the game.

“I’m so proud of her,” Tori said of her sister’s big hit. “That really helped us to keep our momentum going throughout the game.”

Each team scattered six hits, Sydney Postlewait leading the way for East going 2-for-3 with the home run and Amanda Sigley pounding out three hits in three trips to plate for North. But to get over the hump and win three games in a row to advance, Harker knows his team must do more.

“Realistically, we didn’t hit the ball very well today,” Harker noted. “We’ve got to come back out tomorrow. You’ve got to win three games now. We’ve definitely put our backs against the wall.”

North Marion will now play Fairmont Senior, which lost to East Fairmont, 12-0, in the first game, today at 4 p.m.

For the Polar Bears, keeping their confidence high will be key if they want to keep their season alive.

“One positive was that they kept their head up,” Fairmont Senior coach Josh Leep said. “They know that we’re the underdog and I think they’re better off thinking that they can actually do it. At the beginning of the year, I didn’t see any confidence and now I can see it. We’re getting better.”

The game with East Fairmont lasted just five innings and the Polar Bears strung together just two hits — each coming from Brooklyn Nuzum, who also pitched for Fairmont Senior — but Leep said he was proud of what he saw from his girls.

“I told them that they did a good job but that there’s still some things to work on,” Leep said. “I told them to keep their heads up.”

Frederick led the Bees in the first game, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs including a two-run triple.

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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