Willis's walk-off hit sends Greene to Class C semis


GREENE – With the game on the line, Caitlin Willis is a good bet to come through in the clutch. The Greene senior had her second career postseason walk-off game-winner driving in eighth-grader Shawn Ayers in the Trojans’ 3-2 victory over Seton Catholic Central Wednesday in the Class C semifinals.

Greene (16-4) returns to the field today when it travels to top-seeded Elmira Notre Dame, a team with which it is quite familiar. “The only thing we’re thinking about (going to Elmira) is that we’ve beaten them two of the last three years at their place,” said Greene coach Rick Smith. “We’re comfortable there, and we know the atmosphere and the field.”

Greene struggled with consistent hitting against Saints pitcher Katherine Loughlin. The Trojans had few strikeouts, but found themselves popping the ball up for easy putouts. In the final inning, it was nothing but strong hitting. Ayers, in her first varsity season, roped a triple into the right-center field gap putting her 60 feet away from the winning run. Sierra Stopkotte hit a sharp grounder to shortstop that was fielded cleanly by Seton’s Lauren Castellucci at shortstop. Castellucci chased Ayers back to third base, and nearly threw her out.

With the Seton infielders still pulled in, Willis smacked a sharp single to left field – her second hit of the game – giving Greene the one-run victory.

“We lost a heart-breaker to (Seton) a couple of years ago, and the one thing I have learned the past couple of years is that it isn’t over until the last out,” Smith said. “The last three or four innings, we were begging our hitters for contact on the ground. The last inning, all of those hits were good contact.”

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