MILL CREEK — The turning point for the Jackson Timberwolves softball team on Thursday was a grand slam.
By Meadowdale. That only recorded two runs.
Due to a runner interference call — a Meadowdale player pushed a baserunner at home plate as the team celebrated a grand slam by Julia Reuble — only two runs counted before the third baserunner was called out. The out ended the inning and took two runs off the scoreboard, leaving the door open for Jackson.
The Timberwolves capitalized with two runs in the bottom half of the fourth inning and six more in the fifth to come from behind and win the nonleague game 8-5 at Jackson High School.
“It was crazy,” Jackson head coach Kyle Peacocke said. “You hear about it — you know you can’t touch the runners when they’re coming across. It’s just one of those things that happen. That definitely changed things. It goes from 7-0 to 5-0 and you feel like you’ve got a chance.”
With two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the fourth inning, Reuble hit a ball over the fence in right field. The Mavericks rushed out of the dugout to celebrate and, in the process, guided the third baserunner to the plate. The home plate umpire ruled runner interference and the inning was over.
“You can’t touch anybody until they touch home plate,” said Dennis Hopkins, the Meadowdale head coach. “Just excited in the moment and got caught up in it and gave her a push.”
Jackson quickly took advantage, getting two runs back in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run single by Taylor Adams. The Timberwolves took the lead shortly after, batting around the lineup in the fifth inning and putting up six runs on six hits.
Courtney Karmil led the inning off with a pinch-hit double — the first of four consecutive base hits for Jackson. The Timberwolves tied the score at five with a bases-loaded walk to Adams and took the lead on a wild pitch. Kristen Scott added the final runs with a two-run single to give Jackson a three-run advantage.
“We talked about this, and I know it’s early, but, ‘What are you going to do in the face of adversity?’ And they responded wonderfully,” Peacocke said. “We wanted to take it one batter at a time. We just needed to get singles, get hitters on base and keep fighting every single at bat.”
Both coaches singled out the two-run grand slam as a huge shift in momentum in the game. Not only did it negate two runs for the Mavericks, but it ended Meadowdale’s most productive inning on offense.
“It kind of dropped them (emotionally) for that one inning,” Hopkins said. “It does that to a team. You get that one shot at it and then it goes backwards on you.”
Freshman catcher Emma Helm batted 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored and Madison Buchea added two hits for Meadowdale (1-1 overall), which placed third at last year’s 3A state tournament.
“We thought we played well,” Hopkins said. “We’re young again. It’s just a matter of tweaking it now. Jackson’s always a tough team. It’s nice to get these (nonleague games) to get every thing going good and work the bugs out.”
Adams finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored for Jackson (2-0). The Timberwolves also got a strong performance from pitcher Sophie Frost, who struck out nine Meadowdale batters in the complete game. Frost helped herself out at the plate, batting 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
“She’s a great hitter, a great athlete and competitor,” Peacocke said. “I tip my hat to Meadowdale. That’s a good team. They’ve been to state the last couple of years and they can hit the heck out of the ball. They just had that one inning where they just rallied. I credit Sophie for bearing down after that and shutting them down.”
At Jackson H.S.
Samantha Gregoryk, Julia Reuble (5) and Emma Helm. Sophie Frost and Kayla Ellis. WP—Frost. LP—Gregoryk. 2B—Helm (M), Courtney Karmil (J). HR—Reuble (M). Records—Meadowdale 1-1 overall. Jackson 2-0.