BRADFORD — It was a crazy start to the night.
And an even crazier finish.
In between, the Arcanum and Bradford softball teams turned in a performance that was nothing less than an “Instant Classic”, in a scoreless battle through 10 innings.
But, the Trojans got the break they needed in the 10th inning to score a run in an unusual way to get a 1-0 victory over Bradford in what may well have been the CCC championship game.
Arcanum improved to 7-4 overall and 5-0 in the CCC, while Bradford dropped to 9-1 and 4-1.
“There are still a lot of CCC games to go,” Bradford coach Shon Schaffer said. “But, I think people know who the best teams are.”
With two outs in the top of the tenth against Bradford fireballer Skipp Miller, Meghan McCans had an infield single.
On a ground ball to second, McCans avoided the tag going to second and when the throw to first was low she rounded third and collided with the Bradford third baseman.
She continued home and Skipp Miller tagged her 10 feet from the plate.
But, the home plate umpire ruled obstruction and awarded McCanns home plate for the only run of the game.
It is not the obstruction that Schaffer questioned as much as awarding her home plate.
“I can understand letting her go back to third base safely,” Schaffer said. “Even if she did run into our third baseman, its like she was going to score if she didn’t. The ball never left the infield. I just disagree with the interpretation, which is frustrating.”
Peyton Garbig then finished off a no-hitter in the Bradford 10th, setting the Railroaders down in order.
She had nine strikeouts and three walks, with two Bradford baserunners being cut down at third base in the game.
Skipp Miller finished with a three-hitter, striking out 13 and walking two.
“We haven’t had batting practice in more than a week,” Schaffer said. “That is my fault. I wanted to schedule a bunch of games and play a loaded schedule. But, you get rusty when you are playing a lot of games. You see maybe 12 pitches in a game and you might see 200 pitches in batting practice.”
The game got off to a bizarre start when Bradford’s shortstop, coming off a two-homer game, had to leave minutes before the game started because of quarantine due to close contact.
Izzy Hamilton, an outfielder, moved to shortstop.
“She is a great outfielder,” Schaffer said. “She didn’t even get to take infield. It was like, “Are you kidding?” That is the kind of night it was.”
It paid dividends in the Arcanun ninth.
The Trojans had runners on first and third with one out.
Miller got a big strikeout, then Arcanum hit a ball that seemed ticketed for the outfield, before Hamilton snared the line drive near second base on the run.
It was Arcanum’s turn in the bottom of the inning.
Trojan shortstop Emily Fout made a leaping catch of a looper by Skipp Miller.
With two outs, Nylani Beireis hit a drive that looked like it would be in the gap and McCans made a running catch in centerfield.
That set up the dramatic 10th inning.
Despite the loss, Schaffer knows there is long journey ahead for the Railroaders.
“I was really proud of the way our girls responded and battled all game,” he said. “Because, that is exactly what you have to do if you are deep in the tournament.”
Schaffer is just excited to have a spring season with Skipp Miller back on the mound.
“Of course, the players got to play two years ago,” Schaffer said. “But, Skipp missed the season with an injury, which was a gut-punch to the coaches and last year was a gut-punch to everyone.”
Tuesday, was just a tough loss the Railroaders will come back from.