Kirkby sends Cooperstown to sectional semifinals with walk-off hit

May 25—The Cooperstown softball team walked off against Thousand Islands 5-4 in nine innings thanks to the heroics of Savannah Kirkby in Thursday's Section III Class C Quarterfinal.

Kirkby went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBI and a run scored, driving in the game-tying run with two outs in the seventh and hitting a walk-off single with two outs in the ninth.

Katie Crippen had a double and scored the winning run, while Emmy Lippitt smacked a two-run double. Dani Seamon, meanwhile, struck out 17 over nine innings in the win.

Seamon struck out five in the first two innings to keep Thousand Islands off the scoreboard in the early going.

The Lady Hawkeyes went down in order in the bottom of the first, but were able to rally in the second.

Kirkby led off the inning with a double and Brenna Seamon was hit by a pitch with one out. Lippitt drove both runners in with a two-out double before Grace Sperry drove her in with a single to give Cooperstown an early 3-0 lead.

Cooperstown coach Bud Lippitt was happy with the way the bottom of the order opened up the scoring.

"That was amazing," he said of the second-inning rally. "The great thing about our lineup is that we bat one through nine. When the top of the order isn't getting it done the bottom always steps up. The middle is right there as well so teams can't just say, 'Hey we've gotta get one through four,' they need to get through one through nine. It was one more example of what our lineup has been doing all year long."

Seamon struck out the side in the third before the Cooperstown bats went down quietly in their half of the inning.

In the fourth inning, Thousand Islands cut the deficit to 3-2 with an RBI by Julianna Angus on a fielder's choice and an RBI single by Jasmine Randall.

Neither team scored again until the seventh inning when Genevieve Cartaya tied the score with a clutch two-out single for Thousand Islands. The Vikings would go on to take the lead on a passed ball to go into the bottom of the seventh up 4-3.

It was at this point that the Hawkeyes needed a run to keep their season alive.

Tori France led off the inning with a single before Seamon reached first base on a fielder's choice. Seamon then stole second.

Kirkby came up with the tying run on second with two outs and knocked a single into right field to tie the game.

Both teams put up zeroes in the eighth inning and Seamon pitched a clean top of the ninth, giving the Hawkeyes another chance to win the game.

Lippitt was pleased with the way Seamon pitched Wednesday.

"A lot of resiliency on the mound," he said. "Our mound here obviously needs a little bit of work. She fell down one time and she was able to readjust and make things happen."

Crippen hit a double in the inning before Kirkby found herself in another two-out RBI situation. She came through once again, lining a single up the middle to send Cooperstown to the Class C Semifinals.

"All I was thinking was I just need contact," Kirkby said. "It was nice to know that I had people behind me who were cheering me on. I had some confidence going in because of the [seventh-inning] hit but it was nice to know I had my teammates supporting me."

Lippitt was not surprised to see the senior come up huge twice in a big game.

"What she did tonight in the last two at-bats, she made that adjustment on her own this year," he said. "She realized that at the end of the day, especially when you have two strikes, you don't have to swing with God almighty power, you just need to put the bat on the ball. That's what she did. She put it in a spot where she could get on base and we scored the run and it was over with. It was very mature batting from a senior."

The Hawkeyes will face Sandy Creek Saturday for a semifinal matchup. Lippitt said he's looking forward to another tough matchup.

"Looking to have a good game," he said. "It will probably be very similar to this fashion right here. It's going to come down to key hits in key opportunities and keeping our errors down on defense."

Cooperstown 5, Thousand Islands 4

Thousand Isl. 000 200 200 — 4 2 1

Cooperstown 030 000 101 — 5 12 0

TI: Delaney Wiley (L)

Coop: Dani Seamon (W), and Katie Crippen

2B: Savannah Kirkby (Coop), Emmy Lippitt (Coop), Katie Crippen (Coop)