Robin­son walkoff homer put Cam­bridge in fi­nal

Dorchester Star - - Sports - By DAVID INSLEY dins­ley@star­dem.com

CAM­BRIDGE — Cam­bridge’s Chyenne Robin­son wasn’t ex­actly op­ti­mistic when she came to the plate with the score tied 10-10 in the bot­tom of the sev­enth on Thursday, June 30.

“I was kind of ex­pect­ing to strike out,” Robin­son said. “I was just hop­ing to get any­thing, re­ally, that I could hit, maybe get on base.”

Robin­son got more than that, as she hit a first-pitch, belt-high fast­ball around the left-field pole for a walk-off home run that gave Cam­bridge an 11-10 vic­tory over Tal­bot in the District 6 Se­nior League soft­ball tour­na­ment.

Robin­son’s first ca­reer home run elim­i­nated Tal­bot and ad­vanced Cam­bridge to cham­pi­onship against Tri-City. Cam­bridge fell to Tri-City 22-10 on Friday, July 1.

“Chyenne’s a great player,” Cam­bridge man­ager Kim Whit­ten said. “I’ve had her for sev­eral years now. I picked her up for ju­niors when she was 12.”

Robin­son, who’s just 14, went 4 for 5 in the loss-bracket fi­nal. Se­nior league soft­ball nor­mally is for play­ers aged 15-16, but Lit­tle League rules al­low play­ers to par­tic­i­pate at their age level or one bracket higher. She played ju­nior league, 1314 bracket, at 12.

“Chyenne’s pretty much played a level above her age al­most ev­ery year I’ve had her,” Whit­ten said. “And when she hit that ball, I was just kinda lean­ing, you know, hop­ing it would stay fair.”

Robin­son’s blast ended a roller-coaster night which saw Cam­bridge fall be­hind early, take the lead, lose it, re­gain it, and then lose it again in the top of the sev­enth.

Tal­bot, which dressed 18 play­ers dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, but was whit­tled down to 13 for the play­offs, fin­ished 9-5 over­all.

Tal­bot opened with a three-run first. Ju­lia Bradley hit a lead­off dou­ble. An er­ror on Jo­ce­lyn Somers’s sac­ri­fice bunt made it 1-0. Danielle Mills dou­bled Somers home, and an er­ror a mo­ment later scored Mills.

“I didn’t get too wor­ried af­ter [the top of the first],” Whit­ten said. “I knew we could hit. We just had to try to go out there and make some­thing hap­pen.”

Ri­ley Keener got things go­ing in the home half of the first, her Texas-lea­guer sin­gle to left spark­ing a four-run rally. Robin­son, Sab­rina McKelvey, and Re­becca Lowe each notched RBIs in the first.

Tal­bot came back in the top of the third, though. Somers led off with a walk, and stole sec­ond. Mills sin­gled to score her and tie the game. Caro­line Lee and Sin­cere Tay­lor fol­lowed with back-to-back RBI dou­bles, and Naomi Wool­ford’s RBI hit capped the four-run rally, which made it 7-4, Tal­bot.

Tal­bot added a run in the top of the fourth, Mills get­ting a one-out sin­gle and even­tu­ally scor­ing on a passed ball. Cam­bridge pulled to within 8-5 in the bot­tom of that in­ning on Robin­son’s dou­ble that scored Keener.

Com­ing into the bot­tom of the sixth, Cam­bridge was hav­ing trou­ble stay­ing pos­i­tive, Robin­son re­called. “It’s pretty hard be­cause every­body gets down. Every­body misses catches, throws, ev­ery­thing, and you get down on your­self, es­pe­cially if you’re be­hind like we were,” she said, “but our coaches help us to stay to­gether and get back up.”

Lead­ing off the home sixth, Robin­son sin­gled. One out later, Adri­enne Kane reached on an er­ror at third. Shayla Collins, who had re­lieved Brooke Wind­sor on the mound in the fourth in­ning, slapped a sin­gle to right, scor­ing Chyenne Robin­son to make it 8-6. Lau­ren Gootee’s bunt sin­gle, an Ariah Matos RBI ground out, brought in two more runs, ty­ing the game.

Wind­sor and Keener con­tin­ued the rally with RBI sin­gles for a 10-8 Cam­bridge lead.

“I was proud of the fact the girls didn’t just give up in the sev­enth,” Tal­bot man­ager Kelley Mills said. “It’s been such a plea­sure, such an ex­pe­ri­ence, coach­ing these girls this year.

“Just as Cam­bridge has girls on their team that are 14, we’ve got a lot of girls who aren’t league-age 15 yet on this one,” Kelley Mills said. “We’re a re­ally young group, and for them to come out hit­ting, well, we told the bot­tom of the lineup, com­ing into the sev­enth, ‘Hey, you’ve not hit. You’ve got to get it done for us now.’ And they did.”

Six-hole hit­ter Ja’Me­sha Ross be­gan Tal­bot’s lastchance rally with a slaps­in­gle to right-cen­ter field. One out later, Kate Lenki­wiecz ap­peared to have grounded out.

But um­pires con­ferred and ruled Cam­bridge first base­man Lowe had dropped the ball as it came in, leav­ing ev­ery­one safe. Tal­bot’s Julie Warner grounded out to sec­ond, scor­ing Ross to make it 10-9.

Lau­ren Trower’s in­field sin­gle kept Tal­bot’s in­ning alive. A passed ball as Somers bat­ted brought in Lienki­wiecz with the ty­ing run.

“It was quite a game,” Kelley Mills said. “Quite a game to be a part of. They just got the last hit.”

It came quickly. Robin­son came to the plate, and got “ex­actly what I wanted — one right here,” she said, hold­ing one hand out level, a few inches below the let­ters on her jersey. “I knew when I hit it I had hit it pretty good. I didn’t know if it was gone, but I fig­ured I could get a dou­ble, or some­thing, out of it.”

The ball, a frozen rope, sailed in a high arc down the left field line. Cross­ing the fence a foot or so fair, the shot cleared the pole, which is 182 feet from the plate, land­ing in a ditch at the edge of the woods be­hind the field, in­stantly end­ing the game.

“It’s my first home run of any kind, ever,” Robin­son said. “I’d never hit one be­fore.”

“This is the kind of game we kind of ex­pected,” Whit­ten said. “We split with them dur­ing the year. One game, when we played at their field, they won in the bot­tom of the sev­enth, and when they played us here one of our games, we won in the bot­tom of the sev­enth.”

“These girls have had such a great time, it’s a shame that it’s over now,” Kelley Mills said. “They’ve learned, they’ve grown so much, not just as ball play­ers, but as friends . ... It’s been a great thing to see them as the sea­son has gone on grow so much closer.”

Notes: Cam­bridge’s Abby Robin­son had a bunt sin­gle and scored a run. Collins got the win in re­lief, al­low­ing three hits, three walks, an earned run and strik­ing out seven over four in­nings . ... Tal­bot’s Caro­line Lenki­wiecz took the loss, fan­ning six in a com­plete-game ef­fort. Chyenne Robin­son had two sin­gles, a dou­ble, and a homer, miss­ing the cy­cle by a triple . ... Tal­bot’s Danielle Mills reached base in all four plate ap­pear­ances, with a dou­ble, two sin­gles, and a walk, as well as three runs. Wool­ford had two hits and a stolen base . ... Brooke Wind­sor was 3 for 4.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Cam­bridge’s Sab­rina McKelvey makes the catch at short against Tri-City Friday, July 1.

PHOTO BY DAVID INSLEY

Cam­bridge’s Chyenne Robin­son points over the fence where she hit her walkoff home run Thursday, June 30, to beat Tal­bot 11-10.

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