Harnett delivers Wamogo to Class S semifinals
Wamogo's Danielle Maliszewski and her teammates celebrate as the winning run scores in their 7-6 victory over Hale-Ray in the Class S tournament semifinals on Friday. John McKenna photos
Facing one of the most pressure-packed at-bats of her three seasons as Wamogo's first baseman, Mackenzie Harnett delivered big time.
With her team down a run in the bottom of the seventh inning, Harnett ripped a line drive into left field that scored Caitlyn Maliszewski with the tying run and Savannah Wheeler with the winning run in a stirring 7-6 comeback victory over Hale-Ray in the Class S tournament quarterfinals on Friday.
"I just wanted to make good contact and come up for my teammates," Harnett said. "You have to relax in the box and trust yourself."
Wamogo (19-4) will play Stafford in the semifinals Wednesday at 4 p.m. at DeLuca Field in Stratford.
The Warriors trailed 6-4 after Hale-Ray scored twice in the top of the seventh inning. But Wamogo had the top of the order coming up in the bottom of the inning and the two-run deficit would evaporate quickly.
Samantha Sylvester, the winning pitcher, and Caitlyn Maliszewski rapped singles to open the inning and Savannah Wheeler followed with a slow grounder to third that was fielded but thrown wildly past first base, allowing Sylvester to score, Maliszewski to move to third and Wheeler to second.
Harnett stepped confidently into the batter's box and ripped her game-winner to set off a wild celebration.
"These kids are special," Wamogo coach Dave Sylvester said. "Time after time in my four seasons here they've done things like this."
Samantha Sylvester, the coach's daughter, said her team had plenty of life left facing the two-run deficit.
"I knew with our lineup we'd kill it," she said. "If we kept positive and stayed in the game, we could do it."
Wamogo was down 4-1 entering the bottom of the fifth but forged a tie when Caitlyn Maliszewski singled in Cassidy Wilson, Wheeler's groundout scored Danielle Maliszewski and Sylvester scored on an infield error.
The Warriors had a chance to take the lead in the sixth after Cecily Zematis walked and made it to third base with one out. Zematis, however, was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a fly ball to center by Wilson. Hale-Ray then struck for two runs in the top of the seventh to set the stage for Wamogo's rally.
Caitlyn Maliszewski, left, is mobbed by teammates after scoring the tying run in the bottom of the seventh.
Mackenzie Harnett follows through on the swing that drove in the winning runs.
Mackenzie Harnett and coach Dave Sylvester after Harnett's game-winner.
Coach Sylvester and his daughter, winning pitcher Samantha Sylvester.
Savannah Wheeler lays a tag on a Hale-Ray runner at second base.
Cecily Zemaitis was thrown out at the plate in the sixth inning with the score tied.
Savannah Wheeler steps into a pitch.
McKenzie Hoyt scrambles back to first base.
Second baseman Caitlyn Maliszewski can't get the tag down fast enough to catch a runner at second.