Glenn the hero as EHT wins epic SJG4 softball title
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Kids everywhere, when they are alone in their backyard swinging a bat, fantasize about being the hero of the game. They dream of getting that big hit that wins the game — and a championship — for the hometown team. So rarely in the game of baseball or softball does that dream scenario come true. On Friday afternoon, Egg Harbor Township first baseman Ella Glenn lived that dream.
Glenn ripped a line drive into right field that plated pinch-runner Sarah Kawejsza with two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning as the top-seeded Eagles walked off with an improbable 7-6 win over No. 2 Eastern Regional to capture their first South Jersey Group 4 championship since 1993.
It was a thrilling end to one of the most dramatic South Jersey championship games in state history. The Eagles staged comebacks in each of the final three innings to remain perfect at 23-0.
"It was crazy. It was just all the hours we spent at practice this week. We were practicing hitting and getting it down in spots in the outfield, and that's what I was able to do. It's incredible," Glenn said. "It went exactly where I wanted it to go. I turned around and saw (Kawejsza) crossing home plate and I jumped up and down. The fans in the outfield, everybody just started going crazy."
"I don't know what to say. That is by far the best game I've ever played in during my life, and I wouldn't have wanted to have done it with any other team. Everybody played their part," said senior catcher Kate Korte. "Ella is our silent-but-deadly player. She comes through when we need it. The Millville came she came through for us, this game. She's a great first baseman. I'm so proud of her."
Egg Harbor Township's Nicole Wisser was locked in a classic pitching duel with Eastern's Rachel Waro. Each allowed just two runs through the first 10 innings, and Waro pitched all 13 innings for the Vikings (25-3). Beginning in the 10th, tiebreaker rules were put in place, meaning each team started their half of the inning with a runner at second base. Neither team scored in the 10th, and the teams traded runs in the 11th and 12th innings.
Eastern plated two runs in the top of the 13th off EHT reliever Tori Szrom, who came on in relief of Wisser in the 12th, as Mariah Wysocki's sacrifice fly with one out put the Vikings up, 5-4. Later in the inning, Waro laced an RBI single to center, but Szrom buckled down and stranded two runners on base by getting Madi Guyer to line out to Glenn at first base.
An infield error to start the bottom of the 13th put EHT runners at first and third, and Szrom's sacrifice fly to center cut the deficit to 6-5. Two batters later, Korte drove in Bri Lagroteria to tie the score, 6-6, but Szrom was cut down at the plate by left fielder Jordan Alcoy-Quinn for the second out. Korte took second on the throw home, and Eagles coach Mary Dunlap inserted Kawejsza as a pinch runner. Miranda Cincotti was hit by a pitch, bringing Glenn to the plate. She fouled off several tough pitches from Waro before lacing the game-winning hit into right field.
"It was insane. We would get in the dugout and be like, 'this is it, this is it!' And then they would get us out. The next inning we would be like, 'OK, this is it. This is where it needs to end,' and they would score," Korte said of the final three innings.
Wisser, a senior, was outstanding for the Eagles, holding the Vikings scoreless for six consecutive innings after Eastern tied the game, 2-2, in the top of the fourth. She finally ran out of gas after pitching 11 1/3 innings.
"Her and I have stuck together through this whole thing, and she killed it today. She did great. Coach Dunlap brought in Tori, and she did a great job, too," Korte said. "I think it was the right time to do it. They were starting to hit Nicole so we decided to switch it up. Both pitchers did a great job."
"It was a real fight. We didn't give up, and we knew we were going to come out on top at the end of the battle. I knew (Glenn) could do it. I had all confidence in her. She's a great player and I knew she was going to come through," Wisser said. "(Waro) pitched the whole game, and that's incredible. I'm sure she is really tired, but she did a great job. She held us down."
The win marks a crowning achievement for a group of EHT seniors who have gotten one step closer to a sectional championship every year, and now finally have the trophy.
"We're finally here! Senior year, and we're finally here. The 1993 season was the last time we've been on that banner, and now we got it," Korte said. "I'm very proud of this team. We've always had the potential, but this year we just clicked as a team and we knew nobody could beat us."
"I'm so happy. Words can't describe how I feel right now. I'm very tired, but I don't really feel it right now because I'm so excited. We've worked so hard and it all pays off right now," Wisser said. "It's really a season to remember. I wouldn't want my senior year to end any other way."
Contact Dave O'Sullivan: firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @GDsullsays