The year was 1994, and young Lyndsay Patton was a promising freshman pitcher on the Lewis Central softball team, filling in for the injured Anne Howsare.
Patton started for the Titans at St. Albert, and the game came down to a play at the plate. Amy Vanfossan slid in safely, and the Saintes beat L.C. by one run.
Twenty-five years later, that was still believed to be St. Albert’s last softball win over the Titans. Until Wednesday. And the person coaching that St. Albert team to victory? Lyndsay (Patton) Daley.
After Haley Bach’s RBI triple for Lewis Central in the bottom of the seventh sent it to extra innings, St. Albert exploded for five in the top of the eighth and then wildly celebrated its 7-2 Hawkeye Ten Conference victory at the L.C. diamond.
It allowed the Saintes (2-12, 2-8) to earn a split of the doubleheader. On Tuesday night, Lewis Central (3-16, 1-6) won 6-3, but the second game was postponed by rain until Wednesday.
Before the game, Daley made sure to mention how long the program’s drought had lasted against its crosstown opponent.
“They were absolutely fired up, especially after last night,’’ she said. “They knew that they could play with them. We missed some opportunities last night, with bases loaded a couple times. They came ready to play tonight. I was so proud of them.’’
It appeared that freshman Lainey Sheffield’s two-run homer over the leftfield fence in the top of the first might stand for the visitors. St. Albert took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh.
But Maddie Howard’s two-out blooper landed in no man’s land for an infield single, bringing up Haley Bach. On a 2-1 pitch, she laced one down the leftfield line that landed inches foul. On McMartin’s 3-2 offering, Bach ripped it over the centerfielder’s head for a game-tying triple. Avery Heller popped out to second to send it to extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, Peyton Carman walked and was replaced by courtesy runner Carly McKeever. Olivia Barnes singled, and starter Presley Rodenburg, who pitched a commendable game, was relieved by Megan Gittins.
The runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch, and Allie Petry reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. McKeever scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-2, then Mallory Daley reached on a fielder’s choice to load them again.
Sarah Eggerling grounded one to short, picking up an RBI, and Petry alertly also scored as the Titans recorded an out at second to make it 5-2. Presley Poor added an RBI single and Isabel Pershing scored on a wild pitch to push the lead to five.
That was more than enough for McMartin, who transferred from Riverside before the sixth grade. She went the distance, allowing six hits while striking out two, walking three and hitting one.
“This is one of the greatest wins that I’ve ever had,’’ she said. “I just kept my composure. As everyone was cheering me on, I felt a lot more energy to come out and pitch.’’
Added Daley: “She is one cool kid. She doesn’t show much emotion either way out there. I tell her all the time that she’s so much calmer than I was as an eighth-grader. She pitched a great game.’’
Titan head coach Don Wittstruck was scheduled to work on the day the game was rescheduled for, so he was absent, and one of his assistants, Paul Coffman, was ill. That left the team to assistants Rachel Sweet and Hannah Cole. They both said they saw some good things, even though it was a disappointing loss. They praised the work of Rodenburg, who pitched her longest stint of the season.
“We just have to hit the ball better and get more runs on the board,’’ Cole said.
Daley said the win meant even more, given that the Saintes were one strike away from winning in seven, and then had to regroup in the eighth.
“It just shows how much they wanted it, and that they could come back, they could battle back,’’ she said. “I feel like people are still looking at us, going, ‘OK, you only have two wins.’ But we are more competitive. The girls believe in themselves.’’
St. Albert (2-12, 2-8) 200 000 05—7 6 0
Lewis Central (3-16, 1-6) 000 010 10—2 6 1
W: Jessica McMartin (2-12). L: Presley Rodenburg (0-4). 3B: LC, Haley Bach. HR: SA, Lainey Sheffield.
Lewis Central 5, St. Albert 1
The Titan baseball team ran its record to 7-0 in Hawkeye Ten Conference play by beating host St. Albert 5-1 Wednesday at Chuck Wolever Field to complete a doubleheader sweep.
L.C. (9-3 overall) beat the Falcons 7-4 on Tuesday night, before storms pushed the second game to Wednesday afternoon.
Junior Jordan Wardlow led the Titans, delivering the biggest hit of the game, a three-run double to right-center in the third inning, and pitching three scoreless innings to earn the win. Wardlow finished 2-for-2 at the plate with a walk, adding another double.
Senior Jake Powell went 3-for-3 for the winners, while junior Easton Dermody pitched the final four innings and went 2-for-4 at the plate.
For the Falcons (6-8, 3-4), Reed Miller doubled in the fourth and scored on brother Jeff Miller’s single.
St. Albert (6-8, 3-4) 000 100 0—1 4 1
Lewis Central (9-3, 7-0) 004 001 x—5 8 2
W: Jordan Wardlow (2-1). L: Luke Hubbard (1-1). 2B: SA, Ryan Genereux, Reed Miller; LC, Wardlow 2.