Waldier earns Yough softball team walk-off win over Mt. Pleasant

Friday, April 14, 2023 | 9:12 PM

Yough had plans to bring in sophomore Adoria Waldier as a relief pitcher as its Section 3-3A softball game against Mt. Pleasant stretched into the later innings.

Neither team was giving an inch. Groundouts and popouts became routine as Yough freshman Sydney Bergman and senior Sophia Smithnosky of Mt. Pleasant became locked in a pitchers’ duel.

Yough thought Waldier would change up speeds and misdirect the Vikings.

But Yough stayed with Bergman, and Waldier did her damage in a different way.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Waldier delivered a deep drive over the head of Vikings’ right fielder Emma Scanlon for a double to knock in junior Mikayla Spoonhoward with the game-winning run in a 2-1, walk-off victory Friday on Cougar Mountain.

“I knew I needed to make contact,” Waldier said. “I wanted it for my team. At first, I thought the right fielder caught it, so I was a little nervous.”

Yough (4-2, 3-1) took advantage of a Mt. Pleasant (6-5, 2-2) fielding error in the seventh to get Spoonhoward on base. She moved to second on a walk to Bergman, who went 2 for 3. Waldier held the bat out in front, like she was going to bunt, but then reared back and went opposite field for a two-base hit that reached the base of the fence.

“She’s a Division I (prospect), so that’s who we wanted up in that situation,” Yough coach Dutch Harvey said of Waldier, his fast-rising shortstop. “I was going to go to Adoria (to pitch) in the sixth for a major change in speed. But I knew Syd could finish. That was such an even game.”

Bergman, who overcame an early season back issue to return to form, earned the complete-game win. She scattered four hits, struck out four and walked one.

“I knew I could get through this,” Bergman said she told Harvey when there was talk of making a pitching change. “We talk about expecting the unexpected.”

In this case, both coaches expected a tight game.

That despite Yough recently losing 15-10 to Southmoreland, a game that followed a 1-0 loss to Ligonier Valley.

“They executed, and (Bergman) hit her spots well and didn’t try to do too much,” Mt. Pleasant coach Chris Brunson said. “The momentum came back to our dugout, but we couldn’t get it done.”

Yough, which dropped in class to 3A and brought back eight starters, took a 1-0 lead in the first when Bergman and Waldier singled, then each moved up a base on a groundout.

Bergman scored on a wild pitch from Smithnosky, who only allowed six hits and fanned four. Neither of the runs were earned.

Five of Yough’s hits came from the top three hitters in the order.

The Vikings tied it in the fourth, after Smithnosky led off with a double to center.

She moved to third on a sacrifice, then scored on sophomore Ella Alakson’s groundout to second.

Mt. Pleasant had two hits in the fifth but could not capitalize.

With its own pair of hits, Yough had two on and two out in the bottom of the frame but also came away empty handed.

Smithnosky induced a pop-up to end the sixth, when the Cougars again had runners at second and third with two outs.

After Waldier made a leaping snag of a line drive by junior catcher Addison Reese, sophomore Gigi Stanek singled for the Vikings in the seventh.

But, again, a flyout ended the threat to set up the Cougars’ final rally.

“We expected a tough game,” Harvey said. “We knew the section was going to be like this. After we all see each other once through section play, you know the second half is going to be different. You’re going to get everybody’s best.”

Section opponents again for the first time since 2019, Yough and Mt. Pleasant are tied for third place in the section. Mt. Pleasant has dropped three of its last four.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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