Leave it to Twitter to provide the inspiration for a bases-loaded walk-off hit.
Kirtland sophomore Haleigh Getchell–facing an 0-2 pitch with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, the bases loaded and her team trailing rival Berkshire by two runs—remembered something Cleveland Indians second baseman Jose Ramirez tweeted a few days earlier then pounded the ball into right-center field to finish off the Hornets’ 4-3 victory.
“I was down 0-2 in the count and the whole game my coaches kept saying to have confidence and shorten up my swing,” Getchell said. “Along with doing that, a few days prior I saw Jose Ramirez tweet, ‘I will get a hit. I will get a hit,’ and that was my mindset going up to the plate.”
Getchell was 0-for-3 with a strikeout and two infield popups prior to delivering the game-winning hit. That played into Berkshire coach Brittany Bakalar’s decision to intentionally walk Kirtland slugger Emily Ungrady to load the bases.
“As soon as they walked Emily, I knew it was my time to step up,” Getchell said. “It was the best feeling to come back after not hitting. This was a huge confidence booster for me.”
Kirtland (2-0 overall, 1-0 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Ungrady led off with a single, stole second and scored on Vikki Carriero’s triple.
“Carriero is coming through in clutch situations,” said Kirtland coach Jamie Kamensky. “Her triple set the tone for us early. She’s doing her job as a senior leader. She’s leading by example and that’s a big positive for us.”
The Badgers tied it in the top of the sixth when Shyenne Bosse reached on an error and scored on Kayla White’s triple.
Bosse, who also struck out seven, led off the top of the eighth with a single and scored on Madison Chapman’s double. Chapman scored on a fielder’s choice to give Berkshire a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth.
“We knew going in Berkshire is a solid, disciplined, and well-coached team,” Kamensky said. “They have great hitters and make great plays. Today, though it was intense, it shows that if we believe and can get fired up we can hang with the best in the area.”
Elizabeth Vernon drew a one-out walk and Katie McCollister looped a single over the third baseman’s head to put runners on first and second with one out.
Ungrady, who was 2-for-3 with a single and triple, was intentionally walked to set up Getchell’s walk-off.
“Ungrady came up and their coaching staff decided to intentionally walk her,” Kamensky said. “Getchell had her teammate’s back. She was behind in the at-bat and showed that she is able to perform when pressure is on. It’s great to see that everyone on the team can pick each other up and come through at clutch time. Getchell is starting to own the four-hole and truly develop into something special.”
Ungrady, who allowed one earned run on four hits and struck out 10, picked up the win in the circle for the Hornets.
“Ungrady battled through today and is starting to get back in the flow,” Kamensky said. “We had a great day and it feels good to just be playing. I could not be more proud of our girls today. This is exciting because we can only keep getting better.”
Kirtland outhit Berkshire, 5-4, to claim a win against one of the Valley Division’s top teams.
“This win is big for us,” Kamensky said. “It shows us that we are never out of a ball game. This is another stepping stone. With the weather being the way it has been, these early games are crucial. We learned this last year and to beat a team like Berkshire allows us to believe more in each other. Little things today made the difference and one of those little things was never giving up.”
The Hornets host Cardinal (1-0) on Tuesday.