WEST GOSHEN >> Look out, Ches-Mont. The Vikings are awake.
After struggling through the early part of the season, at one point sporting just a 2-5 record, West Chester East has reeled off four straight wins, several of the come-from-behind variety.
Wednesday afternoon on the Vikings’ home field, East plated a pair of runs in the bottom half of the seventh to steal a 4-3 victory over Unionville, who had been on a hot streak of its own.
“It’s great the way this team has come together and has begun to find ways to win,” said Coach Bob Swier. “We’re battling hard the whole game. And in this league, I don’t care who you’re playing, if you don’t battle hard all game, anyone can beat you. That’s the fun of playing in this league, no matter if that team has one win or is unbeaten, it’s competitive. You have to stay on your toes.”
The Indians had just taken a one-run lead in the sixth on a single from Taylor Crittendon and a double from Megan Crisafulis when the Vikings came to the plate in their final at bat.
Kyra Bond got things going in a big way, ripping a triple to deep left field.
“I haven’t been hitting well lately,” said Bond. “But the team has been playing so well, I just wanted to do something to keep us in the game. I just tried to do my best to help us win. The pitch was high and I just hit it and ran.”
Next, Swier brought in a pinch hitter, Kyla McLaughlin. McLaughlin dropped down a beauty of a bunt, and by the time the Indians got to it, they had no play on McLaughlin, and forced Bond to stay put at third. McLaughlin moved up to second without a throw on the next pitch
“That was a freshman coming in and doing her job when called upon,” said Swier. “It’s something that might have gone unnoticed, but turned out to be the winning run.”
Julia Bennett, another pinch hitter, followed and got the ball down between the pitcher and first baseman. The Indians got Bennett at first, but Bond came in with the tying run easily and McLaughlin moved over to third.
With one out, Molly Ahearn stepped to the plate and delivered, stroking a ball to the gap in right center. The Unionville outfield converged, but couldn’t make the play, and McLaughlin strolled in with the winning run.
“I have been slumping badly the last few weeks,” said Ahearn. “The only thing I wanted to do was make contact. Even when I made contact, I didn’t think I hit it all that well. I thought they were going to catch it, to be honest. I’m just really happy about getting the win, and really happy to watch this team really come together and win games after we struggled so much in the beginning of the season.”
The Indians continued to swing a hot bat. No Unionville batter struck out, and they combined for nine hits, including an inside-the-park homer from Julia Knight, and a triple from Mel Hammond. And the Unionville outfield was spectacular with the gloves, running down and diving for balls all game.
“Our team has been playing great defense all year,” said Unionville coach Greg Allen. “That last inning, West Chester East just hit all the gaps. Credit to Bond to hit that triple to start off that inning, but our outfield has been saving us all season.”