Allegany guts out 2-1 win at Morgantown

Apr. 6—MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When Abi Britton took a hard line drive off her pitching arm, the right-hander's health was the first thing on everyone's mind.

Everyone, that is, other that Britton. Finding a way to win, with Allegany trailing Morgantown, 1-0, with two on in the fifth inning, was still the primary objective for the Penn State signee.

Britton threw one warmup pitch and was good to go, got out of the jam with a groundout and Allegany pushed two runs across a half-inning later after an error on an Ava Strother ground ball.

Morgantown came up just feet short of tying the game in the seventh inning, but No. 1 Allegany found a way to hold on in the bitter cold for a 2-1 victory on Friday evening.

"Obviously it hurt and it hurts really bad now," Britton said. "It looks like I have a golf ball on my hand, but I knew what I had to do for my team. I just trusted them to back me up. I have a great defense behind me, and I knew that we would step up at the plate when we needed to, and we did."

Allegany (4-0) was aware of the challenge Morgantown (5-5) presented after the Mohigans handed the Campers their only regular-season loss of the last four years the previous spring.

If it wasn't for a gutsy put-out by catcher Riley Gallagher, a UMBC signee, the two squads may still be playing.

With Allegany ahead 2-1, Morgantown's Anne Robinson placed a two-out liner in the seventh off the left-field line for a double, and Britton responded with a strikeout.

The pitch, however, got away from Gallagher, allowing Emily Peterson to reach on a dropped-third strike, and Morgantown put Peterson in a run-down on the same play to try and score Robinson, who advanced to third on the wild pitch.

Gallagher decided to pull the string and throw down to shortstop Mackenzie Monahan, and she tagged Peterson for the final out just before the tying run could cross home plate.

The play also showed the self-belief of Gallagher, whose throw down to second base on a similar play in the fourth inning resulted in the Mohigans' lone run after it rolled to the center-field fence.

Allegany had runners in scoring position in the first, third, fourth, sixth and seventh innings, but it needed some help from Morgantown to finally push one across.

The Campers, trailing 1-0, loaded the bases in the sixth with two outs after Gallagher reached on an error and Britton and Kylie Hook walked.

Strother grounded a pitch to third to test the Morgantown defense, and the throw to first was off the mark, allowing two Allegany runners to score.

"They put the bat on the ball pretty well," Allegany head coach Dave Winner said. "We can do better putting hits together, but we're playing in 38-degree weather in flurries. I'll take it.

"When you have quality kids who play travel ball at a high level, they don't quit, and they gutted out a win."

Gallagher finished 2 for 4 with two doubles, and Monahan doubled. For Morgantown, Robinson was 2 for 4 with a double, and Liz Alsop tripled and doubled.

Britton was tested throughout, as her velocity wasn't as high as it usually is due to the cold temperatures, but she still allowed just one unearned run on six hits with 14 strikeouts to two walks in seven innings of work.

"Most of it was my fingers being cold," Britton said of the conditions. "It was pretty difficult to spin the ball, but I knew that I just had to gut it out."

The two-time reigning Area Player of the Year recorded seven outs — four via the strikeout — after she took Robinson's line drove off the right wrist with two outs in the fifth.

"It just shows you her quality and her character," Winner said. "To get hit like that and say she's fine right away and walk around for two seconds and then come back and throw as well or better as she did up to that point, it just shows you what kind of kid she is. She won't quit."

Allegany squandered a chance to plate a run in the fourth after back-to-back singles by Britton and Sky Porter led off the inning.

Hook crushed a deep fly ball to left field one batter later, but Robinson made the grab on the run and doubled off the Campers' pinch runner at second base who didn't tag up.

Winner, the third base coach, put the blame on himself for the miscue.

"I screwed up, I'll take credit for that," said the third-year coach with a smile. "I was watching the ball instead of watching her."

It ended up not mattering, as Allegany finally broke through against Madison Wisman — who allowed two unearned runs on five hits with eight Ks and two walks in seven frames.

Allegany was slated to compete in the Fort Hill softball tournament on Saturday, but the event was canceled due to poor field conditions following the area's rain-soaked week.

The Campers will host Frankfort (5-5) on Monday at 4:30 p.m., though the game time will likely change due to the solar eclipse, Winner said.

Alex Rychwalski is a sports reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @arychwal.