STANDISH – Jim Lunney looked at his softball players from Telstar High and said, simply, believe.

And they did.

The top-seeded Rebels scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to walk off with the Western Class C championship Tuesday night, beating second-ranked Georges Valley 3-2 at Ward Field at St. Joseph’s College.

Junior center fielder Hannah Morin drove in the winning run with two outs, her line drive landing squarely on the chalk of the foul line in right field, scoring Lyndsay Merrill.

“I’m a big believer in positive thinking,” said Lunney. “I told them, a seven-inning game is a seven-inning game. And the kids came through.”

Telstar (17-0) will play George Stevens Academy in the Class C state championship game at 11 a.m. Saturday here.

The Rebels, who lost to Georges Valley 2-1 in last week’s Mountain Valley Conference championship game, appeared headed for a repeat. But, said winning pitcher Kayla Merrill, “We knew this game was a little more important and we had to get a run across.”

No. 9 hitter, Natasha Farnum, led off by hitting a 1-2 pitch into center for a single. Lyndsay Merrill followed with a grounder to third and was safe when the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag.

Lyndsay James sacrificed both runners up a base, to second and third. Merrill followed with a grounder to second, and Farnum beat the throw home to make it 2-2.

“That was on me,” said Rusty Worcester, coach of the Buccaneers. “I thought we had to get the out at the plate. We should have taken the out at first. The game would have been tied, but we would have had two outs.”

And that was important because the next batter fouled out. Instead of the inning being over, Morin had a chance to hit with runners on second and third. After taking a ball and fouling two pitches off to the right, she stroked a liner to right, the ball landing inches fair.

“Coach (Lunney) is always telling us to answer the call at the right time,” said Morin. “I felt I was ready. I knew I had to get a hit, something, anything, to get the girls in.”

Lunney said Farnum’s at-bat was pivotal. “I told her in the dugout that we needed her to get on base,” he said. “We had the good part of our order coming up.”

Telstar led 1-0 on an RBI single by Sam Largesse in the second. The Buccaneers (16-1) then scored in each of the next two innings, getting a leadoff home run from Katlyn Rich in the third and an RBI fielder’s choice by Rachel Frye in the fourth.

Danielle Frye, meanwhile, was stifling the Rebels, getting some strong defensive help from first baseman Jill Bradbury.

In the end, though, the Rebels had one last rally.

“Close plays, close calls, the ball lands two inches to the right and it’s just a foul ball,” said Worcester. “That’s just the way things go.’

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]