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The Spring Valley Little League softball team went from in trouble to en route to a district title in one inning on Monday.
In the District 20 title game at Veterans Park in Peru, the Spring Valley All-Stars took a five-run lead into the top of the fifth inning only to see La Salle score four times to pull within a run.
However, Spring Valley responded with a five-run bottom of the fifth to pull out a 13-8 district-title clinching victory.
“We have been able to do that a couple of different times in this tournament, where we can get the momentum in the inning and then take care of business,” Spring Valley manager Roger Perkins said. “When we had the momentum, our girls settled down, refocused and took care of business.”
By doing so, Spring Valley advanced to the three-team Section 1 Tournament, which starts at 6 p.m. Friday at St. Mary’s Park in La Salle.
Spring Valley will play its first game at 6 p.m. Saturday against the winner of Friday’s game between the District 9 and 19 champions.
“We’re just going to have to play it one game at a time,” Perkins said. “Hopefully, we’ll have our girls keep playing the way they have been and we can get a few more wins.”
After rain postponed Saturday’s rescheduled title game — which was originally slated for Friday — the Spring Valley All-Stars didn’t let La Salle rain on their parade.
Spring Valley scored four runs in the bottom of the first to take a 4-1 lead and never trailed the rest of the way.
After La Salle cut the deficit to 4-3 midway through the third, Spring Valley scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth to take an 8-3 cushion.
However, La Salle was far from finished.
La Salle countered with four runs in the top of the fifth without a hit as it took six walks and used a Spring Valley error to pull to 8-7 midway through the fifth inning.
“They had a new pitcher in that inning and she was struggling a little bit,” La Salle manager Ron Ruppert said. “My girls are pretty discipline at the plate, and we preach patience.”
Spring Valley came roaring back in the bottom of the inning as it restored its cushion.
The all-stars scored five runs in the fifth off a walk and three La Salle errors.
“I don’t know if (our pitcher) was getting tired, but there were a lot of mistakes made behind her and that affects your mental attitude,” Ruppert said. “Still, I was real proud of the way all the girls stepped up and continued to battle.”
Spring Valley allowed a run in the top of the sixth before it closed out the win. Spring Valley won despite using four different pitchers. Perkins pulled his starting pitcher Allie Kinkin after two innings to throw in a potential if necessary game Tuesday and then used a pitcher by committee the final five innings.
Perkins ended up not needing to save his starter as his team pulled out the win.
“Our team played great,” Perkins said. “We got our hitting going, had the pitching and we were able to accomplish what we came here to do. We played a really tough team tonight and I couldn’t be prouder of our girls.”
Alyssa Boers had three hits, four RBI and scored twice for Spring Valley, while Makenzie Meuser scored three times and stole two bases.
Sara Perkins had two hits and scored three times, while Madison Soldati scored three runs, while
Makenzie Brady had two of La Salle’s four hits in the game.
Sam Rose and Katie Ruppert both had hits, while Gabby Sawin walked three times and scored twice.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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