NORTH RIDGEVILLE — There was more seventh-inning magic for the Westlake Demons on Monday against Amherst.
With the score tied at 4 in the Division I district semifinals at North Ridgeville High School, Mackenzie Gambetta sent a shot deep into right field for a two-run double. Sarah Turgeon brought her home and Westlake held off Amherst’s rally for a 7-6 victory and a date with Elyria in the district championship this afternoon at 4:30.
The Demons (20-8) needed a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh Wednesday to defeat Midview in the sectional finals.
“It was awesome, my adrenaline is pumping right now,” Gambetta said. “We were all pumped (going into the seventh). We knew we were going to win and it was the best feeling ever.”
Amherst (19-7) did not go quietly despite being down 7-4. Taylor Muhic and Katie Hoerig rattled off back-to-back singles. Brooklynn Gonzalez brought both of them home with a shot to center field and she got in scoring position on the throw home.
“I just wanted to get one for my team and I knew they would pick me up,” Gonzalez said.
Jesse Moracz walked the next batter, which prompted Demons coach Tom Shiban to bring in Gambetta, who retired the next two.
“I was just thinking be confident, I can get out of this,” said Gambetta, who finished with three RBIs and a save. “Luckily enough, I did.”
Westlake started the game with three straight hits that led to three runs. Amherst got one back in the bottom half of the first, but Julia Kosco answered for Westlake with the first fence-clearing home run of her career.
“I was so excited,” Kosco said. “I’ve been practicing a lot. The past couple of games we played in conference against Amherst I haven’t gotten a hit off of (Amherst ace Jennifer Sutton). I was really motivated to do it this time.”
Her work obviously paid off. On Monday, Kosco was 3-for-3 with a walk, three runs and an RBI against Sutton.
But Amherst answered quickly in the second, stringing together five hits in four at-bats to cut the lead to one. Then Muhic drove in Jessica Moore with a shot to deep center, tying the game at 4.
“We’ve played each other three times this year and know each other so well that we expected this kind of a game,” Amherst coach Bill Matthews said.
Both pitchers settled in for the next four innings as Moracz retired 12 of the next 15 batters and Sutton retired 14 of the next 18 with one walk and, of course, Kosco’s home run.
Sutton finished with five strikeouts to Moracz’s two.
“I thought both pitchers pitched a heck of a game after the first couple of innings,” Shiban said. “I think nerves had a lot to do with it. (Moracz) also started to get ahead in the count, which was huge.”
Contact Chris Sweeney at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.