BELLEVUE – Bellevue softball coach Walt Snyder insists it was the right call.
Mansfield Madison coach Tim Niswander thought it was wrong.
No one disputed the play’s importance to the final result.
A controversial call at second base could have ended the second inning, instead the frame went on, and on, and on. Much to the dismay of the Rams and the delight of the Lady Red. Bellevue scored seven runs following the play at second base and went on to take a 9-1 sectional championship victory over Madison.
“It gave us life,” Bellevue coach Walt Snyder said. “When you give a good team life, good things happen sometimes.”
Bellevue freshman Sophia Pressler took off for second base from first with two outs in the second inning. The throw from catcher Egypt Murphy beat Pressler to the shortstop, Bailey Kiser, covering the bag, but the umpire called Pressler safe.
“(Kiser) didn’t have control of the ball when Sophia got there, it hit (Pressler’s) hand,” Snyder said. “That’s why she got up like that (shaking her hand) because it hit her hand first and then the girl caught it. I thought it was a good call.”
Niswander saw the play differently.
“We thought she was out,” he said. “They scored seven runs after that and it would have been the third out of the inning. In a 9-1 game, that’s a big deal.”
Moments after Pressler’s steal, Bellevue’s Lyndsey Seamon drilled a home run to left field. Later in the inning, Jena Weider also hit a two-run home run and the Lady Red held an 8-0 lead when the inning ended, seven batters after the crucial play at second base.
“Our kids were definitely down,” Niswander said. “That happens and the next batter hits a home run, you can just feel the air come out of the balloon.”
The Lady Red (18-7 overall) advance to the district semifinal where Bellevue will face Bellville Clear Fork on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Seneca East High School. Mansfield Madison fell to 10-16.
Pressler, Carly Santoro and Hannah Ruffin each had two hits for Bellevue.
Morgan Andrews got the victory for Bellevue as she gave up six hits and one walk over seven innings with seven strikeouts. She also gave herself early run support with a solo home run in the first inning and finished the day 3-for-3 at the plate.
While her solo shot got her team on the board first, Andrews knew Pressler’s second-inning steal played a deciding factor.
“That was absolutely ginormous,” Andrews said. “I don’t know if she was safe or not, that’s the umpire’s decision. He called her safe, so she was safe. Definitely that was a huge momentum swing.”