MIDDLETOWN — Middletown’s softball team scored three times in the last two innings of its game March 26 against Padua, and the final run, with one out in the bottom of the seventh, was the difference in a 4-3 win over the Pandas.
Most of the unseasonably warm afternoon was a pitchers’ duel between Padua’s Lauren Schurman and the Cavaliers’ Lydia Drake, but the offenses made their presence known as well. The Pandas got things started right away, as Hailey Brooks led off by reaching second on a two-base error. Sara Moore brought her in with a one-out double.
The Cavaliers tied the score in their half of the third. Reese Founds led off with a double, stole third and scored on a throwing error. Padua got that run back immediately. Moore led off with a bunt single, stole second and came home when the next batter, Schurman, sent a sinking liner that was trapped under the glove of the rightfielder.
The bottom of the lineup got it done for the Pandas in the fifth. The eight-hole hitter, Sofia Mazzola, doubled off the outstretched glove of the leftfielder. She was sacrificed to third, and the blustery winds played a role in her coming in to score. Brooks lifted a popup toward the second baseman, but the wind carried the ball just into the outfield grass behind second base. The second baseman made the catch, but with her momentum taking her toward left field, Mazzola was able to tag and cross the plate as the throw home went high.
The Cavaliers’ comeback began with the first batter of the bottom of the sixth, Drake. was hit by a pitch. She then stole second. With one out, Madelyn Hackett hit a ball off the glove of the diving first baseman, and Drake slid into home just ahead of the tag. Hackett took second on the throw and eventually scored on a passed ball.
The Pandas’ leadoff batter in the seventh reached second, but Drake retired the next three batters, two on strikeouts to escape trouble.
Gabrielle Pepper led off the seventh with a walk. She was at second base with one out when Founds hit a grounder to shortstop that went for an infield single. Pepper took third on the play, and when a throw to third went over the fielder’s head to the fence, she came home with the winning run.
The Pandas finished with four hits; Moore had two of them. Schurman struck out 15. Padua fell to 0-2 and travels to Laurel on Saturday for a noon start.
The Cavaliers had three hits, and Drake finished with 12 strikeouts. Middletown (2-0) visits Wilmington Charter on Thursday at 3:45 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.