Yellowjackets too kind in softball tournament defeat

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Valley News Correspondent

Published: 06-05-2024 3:49 PM

WINDSOR — When the Windsor Yellowjackets were on their softball game, they could challenge just about anyone in the state.

But when they weren’t, things could get ugly in a hurry.

The dual nature of Windsor’s season played out in microcosm in Tuesday’s first-round VPA Division III playoff game. The seventh-seeded host Jacks were the better team for much of the afternoon, striking often and taking advantage of a number of mistakes by No. 10 Winooski. But things unraveled in the later innings and the Jackets fell, 19-14, at MacLeay-Royce Field.

Windsor used aggressive baserunning and a few key hits to take early-inning leads of 2-0 and 3-1 but struggled to maintain them.

Winooski, playing as a cooperative with Burlington due to lack of players from both schools, scored seven runs in the top of the fifth inning to take a 9-3 lead.

Windsor rallied, scoring a run in the bottom of the fifth and five runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game going into the final frame. Momentum looked to have finally shifted.

But instead, things unfurled badly for the Jacks in the seventh.

Four walks, a hit batter and a single from the Sea Spartans produced three runs before Windsor could notch a single out in the inning, and things only got worse. In total, Windsor gave up 10 runs in the final inning despite only two balls being put into play in the frame.

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In total, Windsor pitchers walked or hit 24 batters on the day, allowing Winooski plenty of offense without the Sea Spartans needing to put the ball in play at all.

While Windsor attempted a rally, getting back five of the 10 runs, it couldn’t close the gap for a second time. The game, and the Yellowjackets’ season, ended on a groundout back to the pitcher.

Windsor finished the year 7-9, an improvement from their 5-11 campaign from a year prior. The Jacks last finished with a winning record in 2021, but coach Wendy Moody remained optimistic that real improvement is coming.

“Fortunately, we only lose one senior. Hopefully, we’ll return to where we left off this year, which is in a good space to keep improving,” she said post-game.