PIKE CREEK – Padua scored five runs in the fourth inning to break a 4-4 tie, then fought off multiple comeback attempts by Milford in a 9-6 nonconference softball game on April 18 at the Midway Softball Complex. All five runs came with two outs.
Sara Bobiak opened the frame with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Caitlin Baxter walked, but after a fly ball, Milford was one out away from escaping trouble. Instead, Hailey Brooks took a pitch off her helmet to load the bases.
Alex Musial grounded to shortstop, but Brooks beat the throw to second by a hair, scoring Bobiak on a fielder’s choice. Katie Twardowski walked to force in a run, and Sarah Williams followed with an infield single, bringing Brooks home to increase the Padua lead to 7-4. Musial came home on another bases-loaded walk, and Twardowski raced home on a wild pitch to wrap up the scoring.
Brooks, the starting pitcher, left the game as a precaution, and Mel Grant relieved her in the circle. The Buccaneers proceeded to make each of their final three at bats interesting.
Khya Reynolds doubled and Morgan Petty singled to open the fifth, putting runners at second and third with no outs. But Grant struck out the next batter, coaxed a popup to second base, and grabbed a comebacker to end that inning.
Ashley Bullock led off the sixth for Milford with a single, and Bianca Salisbury was safe on an error on her sacrifice bunt. Another sac bunt advanced them to second and third, and Julia Reed knocked both in with a single to right field. Grant got out of the sixth on consecutive popups to Pandas second baseman Caitlin Donnelly.
The Pandas had to work out of trouble again in the final inning. With one out, the Buccaneers put runners on second and third after an error and a double. But Grant did not allow another ball to be put in play, striking out the final two batters to seal the victory.
Padua scored a run on three singles off Salisbury in the first inning, and they added three more in the second. Hannah Solge drove in two runners with a two-out single that fell in a Bermuda Triangle between the second baseman, shortstop and centerfielder, and she came home when Brooks smacked a triple to deep right-center.
The Buccaneers tied the game in their half of the third. A single and two walks loaded the bases, and after Brooks caught a popup for out number two, Milford’s Courtney Kohel cleared the bags with a line-drive grand slam home run.
Solge finished with two hits and two runs scored in addition to her RBI. Twardowski reached base all four times she was up, also driving in two. Brooks and Grant combined to allow eight hits and strike out six. The Pandas (4-5) take on Newark Charter on Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. at Midway.
For Milford, Bullock had three hits, and Reynolds was on base three times with a run scored. The Bucs (5-5) lost for the fourth straight time. They will try to right the ship on Thursday at home against St. Elizabeth at 4:15 p.m.