Newberry third base and assistant coach Ray Harding was preaching to Haley DeBrody, "Drive it." DeBrody was in the batter's box waiting for a pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning with runners on the corners, two outs and and the game tied.
DeBrody drove the pitch into center field, scoring Constance Harding, to give give Newberry a 3-2 seven-inning win in the District 12 9-10 Softball championship game on Wednesday night.
"She usually works good under pressure," Williamsport coach Cris Dilson said. "She did last year, too, during districts and I just knew she was going to do it because she gets better under pressure."
Newberry advances to the Section 3 tournament and will play the District 15 champion at a District 13 site on July 14.
DeBrody wasn't the only Newberry player who excelled under pressure. Pitcher Kirsten Smith threw a dominant seven innings and allowed just one baserunner over the last three innings and struck out the last seven Williamsport batters. She allowed only four hits and struck out 11.
"She's our ace, she's an amazing pitcher," Dilson said. "We have the fielding this year and the pitching and hopefully it'll take us far."
Newberry also had the bats at critical moments, scoring a run in the bottom of the sixth inning when it trailed by one.
After a leadoff single by Smith, she advanced to second on a passed ball. Olivia Beck came in as a pinch-runner and was sacrificed to third by Emily Hartley. With two outs, Beck scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. In the process, Williamsport pitcher Avery Eiswerth injured her knee due to a collision but she stayed in the game and got the last hitter to ground out to end the inning.
Williamsport scored both of its runs in the fourth inning. Cecilia Falk was drilled by a pitch and fell to the ground in pain and was there for a couple of minutes. She eventually shook it off and took her base. She then stole second and advanced to third on an error. Jayla Bartholomew brought her home with a single and two batters later, an Amalie Robertson double got her home for a 2-0 lead.
"What you saw tonight wasn't even the tip of the iceberg of the toughness of these girls," Williamsport coach Jason Eiswerth said. "I just told them out there that I've played a lot of sports, been around a lot of tough people but I honestly don't know if I've been around a tougher group of people than these girls."
One of Williamsport's toughest and best players Wednesday was Eiswerth who threw a complete game and struck out eight. She also left the bases loaded in the fifth inning when there was only one out.
"Avery has pitched a lot, she's pitched well all year," Jason Eiswerth said. "But she was hitting the strike zone and that's all you can ask for of a pitcher at this age is throw strikes."
Williamsport 000 200 0- 2 4 2
Newberry 000 101 1- 3 8 2
Avery Eiswerth and Abby Taylor. Kirsten Smith and Haley DeBrody. W- Smith. L- Eiswerth.
Top Williamsport hitters: Jayla Bartholomew 1-3 RBI, R; Cecilia Fink 0-2 R, SB; Amalie Robertson 1-3 2B, RBI; Maya Trump 1-1. Top Newberry hitters: Nicole Belton 2-2 2 BB, SB; Haley DeBrody 2-4 2B, RBI; Constance Harding 2-2 R; Olivia Beck 1-2 R.
Records: Williamsport (3-2); Newberry (3-0). Next: Newberry vs. District 15 in Sectional 3 Tournament at District 13, July 14