Brock Netter, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — Westfall senior Josie Williams remembered the sting she felt after the Mustangs were shockingly ousted in last year’s Division III district semifinal by Chesapeake.
She made sure there wouldn’t be a repeat of that feeling this year.
Williams and the Mustangs came out hot, and showed why they’re the top seed, handling Alexander 10-0 in five innings to advance to a Division III district championship, Wednesday evening at Unioto High School.
“We came in with a lot of energy, which is something that we had been lacking lately,” Williams said. “We were able to get a early rally going to and keep that momentum. We wanted this one really bad after losing in this spot last year.”
After Westfall went ahead 1-0 off a Liz Stonerock RBI single in the first, it took things to another level in the second.
Samantha Tackett scored off a fielder’s choice, and somehow avoided the tag at home to begin an onslaught. The Mustangs (22-5) put up five more runs in the second, courtesy of RBI singles from Stonerock and Leah Ragland, along with a three-run double off the bat of Williams to push the lead to 7-0.
“Sometimes I like to watch the first pitch, but there are also times it’s the best pitch you get,” Williams said. “I made sure that it was a pitch that I could hit and make contact. It looked good so I turned on it.”
Although the 1-0 lead was more than enough, jumping up to 7-0 allowed hurler Marcy Dudgeon to settle in and relax in the circle.
She was stone cold as she breezed up and down the Spartans’ lineup, tossing a complete game and striking out seven batters on the evening.
“I had a really good mental game and knowing that I had an amazing defense behind me allowed me to clear my head,” Dudgeon said. “They made a lot of great plays behind me. It makes a complete difference knowing that I can throw strikes or miss a spot and they’re right there to support me the whole way.”
Westfall added two more runs in the bottom of the third on a two-run single from Darby Minor before Williams closed the deal in the fifth with a sacrifice fly.
Williams finished 1-for-3 with a double and four RBIs to lead the Mustangs, Minor was 2-for-2 with two RBIs while Stonerock finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Westfall advances to its sixth district championship this decade, facing Ironton at 11 a.m., Saturday at Unioto.
“We wanted a chance at a district final and this game set us up pretty well,” Dudgeon said. “Getting a run-rule in a district semifinal doesn’t happen very often so it’s a huge conference boost for us going into Saturday.”