Greene captures third straight MAC title

By Patrick Newell

Sun Sports Editor


Greene 1, Afton 0

GREENE – Greene skipper Rick Smith is not allowing himself to think about losing seniors Rebecca Hanrahan, Natalie Greene, and Caitlin Willis, all of whom have been with Smith the past four Midstate Athletic Conference championship games.

That senior trio – and the rest of the Trojans – beat Afton in the league championship game for the third straight year Wednesday afternoon.

In a fast-paced game that took less than 75 minutes to complete, Greene’s single run in the bottom of the first held up as the only scoring. “It was a tight game and it was well played by both teams,” Smith said. “Becca was really strong (with her pitching). She hit her spots and let it fly. It was awesome.”

Hanrahan had few difficult moments in the contest. She struck out 13 and didn’t walk a batter. Still, Afton hung around making several nifty defensive gems, and had the tying and go-ahead run on base in the seventh inning.

Until Ashley Rogalski’s bunt single to lead off the seventh, Afton’s only baserunner of the game came on a second-inning Greene error.

Hanrahan fanned Taylor Briggs for the first out of the inning, and fielded Kate Werth’s ball up the middle. She threw to second base for the force out and the second out of the inning.

Cassidy Phillips, Hanrahan’s counterpart on the ball, then struck a solid groundball to Taylor Ellis at third. Ellis’s throw, though, was wide of Greene at first base, and the error moved each runner up a base.

With Connor Decker at the plate, Hanrahan completed her baker’s dozen of whiffs striking out Decker to end the game.

“The big thing is that we didn’t let that error hurt us,” Smith said. “(The biggest difference) between last year and this year is that our team is split down the middle as far as youth and veterans. I am happy where the young ones have gotten to this point, but we make mistakes. We’ve dealt with them, and we always bounce back.”

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