The Akron Racers Spring Showcase felt more like a late December football game at Cleveland Browns Stadium than an Akron softball game.
Players from Ellet and Huber Heights Wayne tried to stay warm with hoodies when they came to bat.
In the end, Taylor Best of the Warriors (6-12) scored on a wild pitch from third with one out to get the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat the Orangemen 6-5 Sunday night at frozen Firestone Stadium.
The walk-off finish was set up by a dropped ball at second on a routine force play by second baseman Abby Ross, who then tried to throw back to pitcher Autumn Smith (4-7), but the ball rolled away and allowed Best and Amber Bondurant to move up to third and second bases, respectively.
It was typical of the up-and-down season that the Orangemen (5-7) are experiencing.
“We are a young team that is trying to improve as the season goes on,” said Ellet coach Chuck Shuman, who has won more than 500 games in 27 years. “We still have things to learn to get better and better at. Abby is a good player and a little bit of frustration got to her.
“She will have a lot of good plays and games ahead of her.”
Despite the weather, Shuman thinks that the showcase and other events such as traveling to Myrtle Beach, S.C., this month are important for the Orangemen.
“Any time you can play in a tournament atmosphere like this is very helpful,” Shuman said.
Trailing 1-0 after the first inning, the Orangemen scored three runs in the second inning without a hit.
Ellet was down 1-0, 4-3 and 5-4, but refused to go away without a fight.
Senior catcher Marissa Calise came out of her slump with two hard-hit doubles, one down the left-field line and one to center, and scored a run.
Ross had a sacrifice fly in the second inning and also had a single.
Designated player Emily Schall tied the game at 5-5 in the sixth with a ground ball to deep shortstop that scored senior Amanda Donaldson, who doubled, singled and walked twice.
Left fielder Emily Murray had an RBI and made a diving catch in left field.
Shuman said cold days don’t necessarily give a great advantage to the pitcher or hitter.
“It is half a dozen of one or the other,” he said. “The pitcher might have a slight advantage because of the sting [from hitting with a cold bat]”
Smith gave up nine hits in the loss.
Ellet also lost 4-3 to Tri-Valley earlier in the day.
Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps.