WINDSOR — The final 24 hours for the senior-heavy Yellow Jacket softball team was loaded with graduation, a parade through town, an outing at Jay Peak and a soaking rain storm.
Oh, yeah, and there was a softball game, too.
“It hasn’t really hit yet, but it has been a great time, everything has happened so quickly,” said senior Hannah Wood. “We all left around 10 p.m. after graduation and got back into town at 9 a.m.” after Project Graduation was booked at Jay Peak weeks ago.
The 10 seniors on the team have had quite the last few hours, but when the game began, they were more than ready to take on Lake Region in a Vermont quarterfinal softball game as junior Peyton Richardson stepped in the circle.
Adi Prior started things off for Windsor as she scored the first run then the Windsor bats really woke up in the second inning. Jenna Hood reached on an error, Meagan Holling lined a shot off the pitcher for an RBI, Prior drove in two more runs, then Richardson’s sacrifice fly made it 5-0 when Wood stepped up as the rain started to come down. Wood’s smash to center field flew over everyone, and by the time she crossed the plate for a home run, the thunder and rain halted play.
“Hannah is one of the hardest-working athletes I have ever seen; she heads to the barn in February and we work on fielding and hitting in the cold, she is always trying to improve herself,” said Phil Hathorn in his coach/manager role.
During the 30-minute delay, there was some lively chatter between the dugouts, but when the sun broke through and the game resumed, Windsor stepped on the gas.
Wood was fielding ground balls with ease and Paige Kleefisch snared a rope that was looking like a sure hit to keep the Rangers scoreless while Prior was spectacular behind the plate.
Richardson and Kleefish would collect RBIs with infield hits pushing the Windsor lead to 8-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning. “With a year off, I wasn’t sure what to expect this season. I knew we had some great athletes and the season could have gone either way but the way everyone has really stepped up their games this year put us in this position” said Windsor Head Coach Heather Stearns.
The Lake Region team was solid in the field especially their left fielder Tyra Scelza, who made four catches running away from the infield on deep hit balls. Mya Harriman would add another Windsor run and when Prior connected, Scelza could only try and track it down as the ball kept on rolling, as Prior would have Windsor’s second home run on the day.
“I knew I made solid contact and I didn’t even feel it when it left the bat,” said Prior, as the lead grew to 11-0.
Teams traded a few runs late, and when Morgan McKeen’s hit plated a run, the game was over with Windsor punching their ticket to a semi-final game at Oxbow on Tuesday with a 14-2 win.