The Winman Junior High School Warriors softball team went to Woodlake Park and edged out the Ferri Middle School Jaguars 6-4 in nine innings on Thursday afternoon.
Winman was led by its seventh grader and ace, Julia Krause, who pitched a complete game, striking out five while driving in two runs including what proved to be the game-winner.
The Warriors were able to pull out the victory, despite playing with a thin roster.
“Absolutely amazing,” Winman head coach Bob Chevian said. “I couldn’t be any prouder than they were. I was standing out there in right field and I was lost for words.”
“I was missing four girls,” Chevian added. “Missing two starters and I had a lot of girls playing at a position that they don’t normally play. So, we were all mixed up today, but It worked out. We came here and played a great game,”
Ferri sent seventh-grader Hailey Brown to the circle to start the game and she pitched three innings, giving up four runs, three of which were earned.
Ferri head coach Mario Nasisi labels Brown as the team’s future starter. Jaiden Tonucci, an eighth grader and the team’s current ace came in to relieve Brown in the fourth inning.
“She did well,” Nasisi said of Brown. “She didn’t struggle much.”
Brown hit the first batter of the game, Winman’s Sydnee Perrault . Then Victoria Halstead drove in Perrault with an RBI double and gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead. Next, Winman catcher Marlee Walsh launched a sacrifice fly to center field to bring home Halstead and extended the Warriors’ advantage to 2-0.
In the bottom of the first, Ferri eighth grade shortstop and captain Emily Iannuccilli hit a two-out single before stealing second base. On the next play, Tonucci hit a pop fly to shallow left and Winman’s shortstop and left fielder had a miscommunication, which allowed the ball to drop in for a hit and Iannuccilli to score, pulling the Jaguars within one.
Winman’s Perrault led off the top of the third inning with a double to right. Next, Halstead hit a single to shallow center which led to an error on the throw home to catch Perrault, allowing Perrault to score and extended the Warriors’ edge to 3-1. Then, Krause, Winman’s pitcher, helped her own cause by hammering a sacrifice fly to right to drive in Halstead while increasing Winman’s advantage to 4-1.
Later in the bottom of the fourth, Ferri’s Tonucci blasted a two-out, RBI triple, to right field and cut the lead to deficit to 4-2.
Then, in the bottom of the sixth, Ferri got even. Gianna Robinson led off with an infield single before eventually stealing third and scoring after an error at home. Next, with two outs, Ferri’s Iannuccilli hit an RBI single to drive in Arianna Velasquez, tying the game at 4.
According to Nasisi, Iannuccilli has a batting average above .500 this season.
“She’s just incredible,” Nasisi said. “She knows how to keep the team cheered. Even on the bus she’ll sing, even if we lose a game just to make sure the girls understand that it’s still just a game, but she’s a great leader.”
Neither team would get on the scoreboard in the seventh, so the game went into extra innings.
In the top of the ninth inning, Krause belted an RBI single that scored Kathryn Motta and gave the Warriors a 5-4 advantage. After that, Krause stole second and third. Then, with one out, Eliana Goldman used a sacrifice bunt to drive in Krause and extended Winman’s edge to 6-4.
In the bottom of the ninth, Ferri had runners at second and third with one out, when Krause earned a big strikeout on Charlene Hohlmaier and then induced a pop up from Iannuccilli to help the Warriors escape with the victory.
Nasisi, was still upbeat after the Jaguars’ loss.
“One of those games,” Nasisi said. “It got a little bit exciting and interesting. It was a good game all around.”
“I’m just happy with everybody,” Nasisi added. “Even the girls that are on the bench. They know that they’re part of the team. So, we’ve always had fun. Win or lose, the girls stay in it. They all cheer each other on. So, I’m proud just to be their coach.”
With the win, Winman’s moves into a fifth-place tie with Ferri in the West division at 5-4. The top eight teams from each division make the postseason.
Next, Winman hosts Warwick Vets (6-1) at Winslow Park on Tuesday afternoon.
On Friday, Ferri fell to Western Hills by a score of 15-4 in six innings. Next, they travel to Kickemuit Middle School (3-4) on Tuesday afternoon.