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Softball: Haley Earl’s walk-off home run lifts Marian Catholic over Providence

Updated: April 22, 2014 9:26PM



The high, towering flyball to left-center off the bat of Marian Catholic’s Haley Earl with one on and two outs in the bottom of the seventh and her team trailing by a run had everybody wondering.

Would the ball clear the fence?

Moments later, the screaming on the Spartans side gave the answer.

Earl’s two-run, game-winning blast lifted the Spartans to a 3-2 East Suburban Catholic Conference win Tuesday over visiting Providence in the conclusion of Monday’s suspended game. For the Spartans (6-4, 2-1), the result was well worth the wait.

“She was ready to attack it and had the right mental approach when she went up there and obviously got a good hit,” Marian Catholic coach Kerri Evans said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Not so much for the Celtics (6-5, 1-2), who will have little time to recover as the two teams meet again Wednesday at Providence. Minnesota recruit Kendal Judge (6-3) was the tough-luck loser, going all seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits while striking out seven and walking one.

Going toe to toe with Judge was Allison Spence (3-2), who quickly is emerging as the Spartans’ No. 1 pitcher. She struck out nine, gave up three hits, including an RBI double down the first-base line off the bat of Providence’s Morgan Greenwood.

Greenwood’s grounder had the Spartans faithful vehemently questioning the call by the home-plate umpire. Courtney Pych, who reached on an error, scored easily on the hit, giving the Celtics a 2-1 lead in the fifth.

“I don’t know what to say. I felt we played a good game,” Providence coach Jay Biesterfeld said. “We were one out from victory, but there was no excuse for us not being able to put the ball in place.”

Psych also scored the first run of the game in the top of the third when she singled and later came home on a wild pitch. Earl answered in the bottom of the inning with her first home run of the game and her second of the season.

That just set the stage for Earl’s dramatics four innings later.

“I was just thinking, ‘Get the ball in play’,” Earl said. “I was very happy (when I saw it go out). I’m just speechless right now. This was a great win against a great pitcher.”



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