Kenzy Tallman’s towering three-run homer in the third inning got the Phoenix offense rolling in its Division III sectional final Friday at chilly Community Park.
Then with her team trailing 8-6 in the seventh, Tallman drilled a two-run shot that set the table for a 9-8 victory over Wellington.
Left fielder Paige Bauer, who followed Tallman to the plate, walked. She scored the winner after Hannah Rasmussen singled and the Dukes threw the ball away trying to nail Bauer at third. Phoenix pitcher Reyna LaRiccia sealed the victory, throwing 11 pitches to retire Wellington in order.
With the rally, Oberlin wins a sectional championship and earns a spot in a district semifinal at 4 p.m. Monday against either Trinity or Warrensville Heights. They meet in a sectional final today.
Tallman’s fence-clearing bombs were her second and third of the season.
“I just kind of focused and the contact point is what I think of,” Tallman said. “I just swung and (the ball) just kind of went over. This means a lot because we all come together. We’re all focused and we all get along great.”
Both teams put up big, bat-around innings.
Wellington sent 10 batters to the plate in a five-run first inning, made possible by three hits, including pitcher Olivia Bradstock’s two-run double, and three errors. Oberlin (10-18) fought back and took the lead with a six-run third inning on four hits and two errors.
The Dukes (12-13) tied it with a run in the fourth inning. And it looked as though they had it won after a two-run sixth for an 8-6 lead. It merely set the stage for Tallman, Bauer and Rasmussen.
“We got off to a shaky start and I was a little nervous, because we’ve been up and down this season,” Phoenix coach Josie Martin said. “But I knew we’ve had a better team in us and we’ve battled back in several games. So I knew we could fight back. But the one thing I’ll say about this team is they cheer and support each other and we never back down.”
Tallman had a highlight-film afternoon. She went 3-for-4 at the plate with five RBIs and two runs scored. Oberlin catcher Olivia Pfeifer was 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs. Bauer’s winning run was her second of the afternoon.
The Dukes’ Bradstock was 2-for-3 with four RBIs and a run scored. Her double was the game’s only other extra-base hit. Wellington third baseman Brittney Wallace and catcher Morgan Tandarich scored two runs apiece.
“This was a tough one, particularly after we got a five-run lead,” Wellington coach Tim Wulfhoop said. “But they did hit the ball hard and we gave them some extra bases (on errors). I’m excited for those guys (Oberlin). They’re playing really well right now. They got my attention when they beat Columbia in the first game of a doubleheader.”
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.