The game that wouldn’t end did

St. Mary’s Ryken loses WCAC softball fi­nal in 19 in­nings to O’Con­nell; Augh­in­baugh struck out 24 in de­feat

Maryland Independent - - Spreading The Wealth - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

KENS­ING­TON — The Wash­ing­ton Catholic Ath­letic Con­fer­ence softball cham­pi­onship game was so in­tense and dra­matic that it took 19 in­nings and roughly 25 hours to de­cide.

One day af­ter St. Mary’s Ryken senior ace Madi­son Augh­in­baugh and Bishop O’Con­nell (Va.) ace Kathryn San­der­cock bat­tled to a 2-2 draw through 18 in­nings, com­bin­ing for 40 strike­outs on 480 pitches, Augh­in­baugh did not go to the cir­cle when the game was re­sumed at 5:30 p.m. Wed­nes­day at the Academy of the Holy Cross.

Augh­in­baugh had fanned 24 bat­ters while throw­ing strikes on 187 of 272 pitches on Tues­day, but the Ford­ham Univer­sity re­cruit traded po­si­tions with ju­nior first base­man Katie Preb­ble on Wed­nes­day.

Tues­day, Preb­ble had been one of the pri­mary rea­sons the game con­tin­ued. With two outs in the bot­tom of the ninth in­ning and her team trail­ing 1-0, Preb­ble de­liv­ered a sin­gle down the right-field line that scored Augh­in­baugh from sec­ond base to tie the game.

O’Con­nell re­gained the lead in the 11th, but Ryken again got the equal­izer on the bot­tom half of the in­ning. Nei­ther team scored again when dark­ness ap­proached and the um­pires sus­pended the con­clu­sion of the ti­tle game af­ter 18 in­nings with the game tied at 2.

There was lit­tle drama in the 19th on Wed­nes­day. Preb­ble walked the first three O’Con­nell bat­ters on five pitches each, but senior first base­man Olivia Gi­aquinto did not wait that long to take her first swing. With the bases loaded and none out, Gi­aquinto sent a 1-ball, 1-strike Preb­ble pitch over the fence in left-cen­ter field for a grand slam that gave the Vir­ginia squad a 6-2 lead. Two bat­ters later, Kayla Turner de­liv­ered a solo home run to straight­away cen­ter for the game’s fi­nal run.

“I was re­ally a bun­dle of nerves when I went out to the cir­cle,” said Preb­ble, who had played first base pri­mar­ily all sea­son and had pitched in only three prior con­tests. “I was re­ally ner­vous. I never re­ally felt calm, but this was an amaz­ing sea­son with a great team. I have a very busy travel softball sched­ule this sum­mer with Wag­n­ers MG Gold. I have a tour­na­ment in Ok­la­homa, an­other one in Chicago and an­other one in Ge­or­gia. I will ba­si­cally be gone the en­tire month of July.”

While Augh­in­baugh — se­lected as the con­fer­ence’s player of the year for the sec­ond straight sea­son — played first base on Wed­nes­day, O’Con­nell head coach Tommy Orn­dorff sent San­der­cock back to the cir­cle on Wed­nes­day less than 24 hours af­ter she had thrown 208 pitches in her 18-in­ning duel with the Ryken ace. San­der­cock promptly re­tired the side in or­der in the bot­tom of the 19th on Wed­nes­day on just 10 pitches, coin­ci­den­tally get­ting Augh­in­baugh to ground out to third base to end the con­test.

“I’ve had pitch­ers throw as many as four games in one day,” Orn­dorff said. “In my ex­pe­ri­ence with this team and the Sham­rocks, the time most pitch­ers get hurt is when they go into the out­field and throw over­hand try­ing to stay loose. Softball pitch­ers have such a nat­u­ral mo­tion it doesn’t hurt them. Kathryn pitched a great game yes­ter­day and so did Mad­die, but I didn’t have any doubts about send­ing Kathryn back out there to­day.”

Preb­ble took the loss af­ter al­low­ing five runs on six walks and two hits in two-thirds of an in­ning, then re­liever Cassie Aud fanned Leah Hammes with the bases loaded.

Augh­in­baugh departed the field Tues­day evening with an ice pack on her right shoul­der and am­ple tears in her eyes. In what would be her fi­nal out­ing for the Leonard­town pri­vate school, she lim­ited O’Con­nell to two runs, one earned, on 12 hits and four walks while fan­ning 24 bat­ters.

“I’ve never had to pitch that many in­nings be­fore,” Augh­in­baugh said on Tues­day be­fore head­ing home with her par­ents. “That was def­i­nitely the long­est game of my life, but it was a great bat­tle, phys­i­cally and men­tally. You had to stay fo­cused on ev­ery pitch. That was such a great game to be a part of.”

San­der­cock, who al­lowed two runs, one earned, on four hits while fan­ning 16 Ryken bat­ters af­ter throw­ing strikes on 149 of 208 pitches on Tues­day as she and Augh­in­baugh took shutouts into ex­tra in­nings.

O’Con­nell pushed a run across in the top of the ninth on a one-out walk to Gian­quinto and con­secu- tive sin­gles from San­der­cock and Kyla Turner and an er­ror by Ryken cen­ter fielder Mo­riah Hunter that al­lowed Gi­aquinto to score the game’s first run.

Ryken got the equal­izer in the bot­tom of the ninth. Augh­in­baugh beat out an in­field sin­gle with one out, then Preb­ble plated her with a clean sin­gle down the right-field line. Emma Thomp­son then worked San­der­cock for a walk, but Lind­sey Keller popped up to third to end the threat.

O’Con­nell re­gained the lead in the top of the 11th. Gian­quinto led off with a bloop sin­gle to right, then San­der­cock worked her coun­ter­part for a walk and both run­ners ad­vanced on a wild pitch. With one out, El­iz­a­beth Hoey­mans dropped down a squeeze bunt that Augh­in­baugh mis­han­dled, en­abling Gi­aquinto to score her sec­ond run.

Af­ter Augh­in­baugh es­caped the top of the 11th with­out fur­ther dam­age, Ryken again pro­duced the equal­izer. Hunter beat out an in­field sin­gle, went to sec­ond on a ground­out by Augh­in­baugh then scored when O’Con­nell third base­man Hammes bounced her throw past first al­low­ing Jae­lyn Gorham to reach safely. Gorham went to third on an­other grounder but was stranded there when Thomp­son grounded out.

In the bot­tom of he 12th, Ryken sec­ond base­man Lind­sey Keller greeted San­der­cock by send­ing the first pitch of the frame deep to cen­ter. O’Con­nell cen­ter fielder Ju­lia Jones chased down the high fly ball, caught it then crashed through the tem­po­rary fence for the game’s long­est out.

Six in­nings later, in the bot­tom of the 18th, the fi­nal in­ning played on Tues­day, Keller again greeted San­der­cock by send­ing the first pitch deep to right-cen­ter. But again Jones proved to be her neme­sis, track­ing down the long fly ball and catch­ing it sev­eral strides be­fore reach­ing the tem­po­rary fence.

“I was hop­ing that it was go­ing out,” Keller said of her shot in the 12th. “I saw her go­ing back and I was just hop­ing that I had got­ten enough of it. But she made a great play on the ball. I was hop­ing that last one was go­ing out, but she caught it again.”

STAFF PHOTO BY TED BLACK

St. Mary’s Ryken ju­nior first base­man Katie Preb­ble stands at sec­ond base and sig­nals home to a team­mate on Tues­day in the WCAC cham­pi­onship game ver­sus O’Con­nell. Preb­ble sin­gled home pitcher Madi­son Augh­in­baugh with the ty­ing run but was stranded at sec­ond as the teams played to a 2-2 draw through 18 in­nings be­fore re­turn­ing on Wed­nes­day. The Knights would lose in 19, 7-2.

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