STEPHENS CITY — In the underside of the seventh inning, Emma Chunta had a flashback.
Seven pitches later, she despatched Millbrook heart fielder Grace Badnek means again till she might run no extra.
Sherando’s senior shortstop belted a two-out, three-run walk-off house run to cap a five-run seventh inning and provides the Warriors a dramatic 7-6 win over the Pioneers on Saturday at Sherando Park.
Chunta’s blast despatched Badnek scurrying again till she collapsed the mesh fence 200 ft away in heart area. Chunta continued across the bases after the ball dropped a great 20 ft past the fence, not breaking stride till she was engulfed by her delirious teammates at house plate.
In June of final yr, Chunta’s go-ahead grand slam towards Millbrook pitcher Emily Jeffries within the sixth inning at Sherando Park offered the ultimate runs within the Warriors’ 8-6 Class 4 Northwestern District quarterfinal win.
Saturday’s house run was much more dramatic. Jeffries shortly received forward 0-2 earlier than Chunta took a ball inside, fouled off two pitches, and took one other ball earlier than sending a rocket to heart that gave the Warriors simply their second win of the season. Sherando is now 2-6 (1-2 district), whereas a Millbrook group that has dealt first-place Liberty its solely district loss fell to 5-5 (2-3).
The Pioneers hit three house runs on Saturday, with sophomore shortstop Alexis McFarland (2 for 4) hitting two solo pictures to offer her an area-best seven house runs this yr.
Chunta stated with fun that she did take into consideration her grand slam “a little bit” when she stepped to the plate with runners on first and third and two outs within the seventh. Up till the seventh, although, Sherando had little to smile about. The Warriors had solely 5 hits and drew only one stroll by means of six innings, scoring twice within the third with the assistance of an error.
“Props to Emily, she hit her spots and has a really good curveball, and kept us on our toes,” stated Chunta, who performed her first sport this yr at shortstop after beforehand enjoying second. “[In the seventh], I’m standing up at the plate, and she’s moving [her pitches] over more and more and more. I think just on the last pitch, she missed her spot.”
Chunta — moved up within the order from fifth to fourth as a part of a brand new lineup for Sherando on Saturday — made Jeffries pay to cap a powerful rally. Jeffries went 6.2 innings and gave up three earned runs, eight hits, two walks and struck out six batters.
Junior Jaeda Long received it began with a one-out, pinch-hit double to left-center area, and sophomore proper fielder Anna Borst adopted by lining a single to heart to place runners on first and third.
Sophomore outfielder and leadoff hitter Abby Vadnais (3 for 4, two RBIs) then tapped a ball towards Jeffries. Jeffries did not trouble with Long and as an alternative went for the out at first. She made an correct throw, however the ball bounced off her goal’s glove and went towards the fence in foul territory. Not solely did Long rating, however Borst superior to 3rd and Vadnais went to second.
Freshman catcher Kayla Grum then got here up. Grum was beforehand hitting ninth in Sherando’s batting order. But she was additionally the group’s main hitter coming into Saturday with a .467 common (7 for 15) and had a .500 on-base share, so she was moved to second. Grum — who had a sacrifice fly within the third inning that put Sherando up 2-1 — fell behind 1-2 however drew three straight balls to load the bases.
Madison Harris (1 for 3) lined a sacrifice fly to proper to usher in Borst to make it 6-4, and that set the stage for Chunta.
“Emily and her were battling that whole time,” Sherando coach Mark Conner stated. “Emma was getting some cuts on her. I was over there at third going, ‘Just get a nice, lovely swing on the ball, and [the ball] will do the work for you after you get a good swing on the ball.’ That’s what she did. It’s pretty exciting.”
It was a much-needed win for a Warriors group that was used to success coming into this yr. Sherando had only one dropping season in 9 seasons underneath former head coach Clarence Smith, who took a job with Winchester Public Schools simply 11 days earlier than the primary follow this yr
Chunta stated there’s been an adjustment interval with a brand new teaching employees. In addition to Conner, her father Tom, an assistant, can also be new. And whereas final yr’s group began off with a 4-0 begin, this yr’s group misplaced three one-run video games in beginning 1-6.
“We’ve had a lot of close games, and we’ve been trying to get our team to fight through a full seven innings,” Conner stated. “Today, we showed that.”
Juggling the lineup and making some defensive modifications may additionally assist get the Warriors headed in the fitting route.
“Our message [to the team] was we’re just trying to find the recipe to success,” Conner stated. “We’ve got 13 capable players on our team and we know they can play at any given time. We’re just trying to find that way to gel it all together and win games. Today, it worked in our favor. You hate to do it in the seventh inning, but that’s the excitement of the game.”
Sherando did present its depth on Saturday. In addition to Long’s pinch-hit double, senior Abbie Schellhammer changed Santanna Puller (6.1 innings, six earned runs, 10 hits, no walks, 4 strikeouts) with one out and runners on first and third within the seventh. She retired each batters she confronted, with Jeffries driving in a run with an RBI groundout to make it 6-2 and getting McFarland (.594 batting common and an area-best 21 RBIs coming into Saturday) to floor out to Chunta at brief to finish the inning.
The Warriors will subsequent get one other Frederick County rival on Tuesday once they journey to James Wood.
“I think this game will really keep us going forward,” Chunta stated. “I think it will really give us the confidence to play James Wood.”
For Millbrook, Saturday’s loss was a stunner.
After giving up these two runs within the third inning to fall behind 2-1, Millbrook got here proper again with solo house runs from Ashlyn Philyaw (2 for 4 with a double, two RBIs and a stolen base) and McFarland to take a 3-2 lead within the fourth. And Jeffries was pitching effectively, this after dominating Liberty with a one-hit, five-inning shutout with 9 strikeouts on Tuesday.
“Emily was rolling,” Millbrook coach Carolyn Campbell stated. “What we just talked about in our [postgame] meeting is that we’ve got to minimize the errors and string some more hits together, and we’ll come out on top. We’ve got to learn how to finish games.”
Also for Millbrook, Allie Simmons went 2 for 3 and Arizona Parkes had an RBI single. The Pioneers journey to Jim Barnett Park to play Handley on Wednesday.