The Mama’s Girls won the Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Softball League championship for the fourth time in five years Thursday night at Veterans Park, and did they ever have to work for it.
The second-seeded Creamers, playing in their seventh final in 14 seasons, had things going their way against the league’s top team, carrying a 7-4 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning. But, as champions so often do, the Mama’s found a way, first to tie the game in the sixth, then to win it in the seventh.
With one runner on, Mama’s shortstop and super slugger Jenna Zechner stepped to the plate. In three previous at-bats, she grounded out to third, walked, and reached first on an error. This time, she cut loose and crushed a monstrous, championship-winning walk-off homer to deep left field for a 9-7 Mama’s victory.
As Zechner rounded the bases and charged home, her jubilant Mama’s teammates and head coach Mike Magaraci rushed over to greet her, before third baseman Martha Scheffer broke out some well-deserved bubbly and sprayed away.
By winning the their fourth title, the Mama’s Girls (13-2 this season) have tied the Honeys for most all-time.
The game was scoreless through 2½ innings, with the highlights two superb catches, one by the Creamers Becca Gorham, standing tall on her tiptoes to snatch the ball out of the air, and the other a hustling basket catch by Mama Emily Williston. A 5-6-3 double play by Mama’s Martha Scheffer, Zechner, and Jaime Forend in the second inning wasn’t too shabby either.
The Mamas broke the 0-0 stalemate in the bottom of the third. Gail Herman hit a leadoff single, Lauren Williston picked up two RBIs, and two more runs scored via uncharacteristic Creamers errors to put the Mamas up 4-0.
The Creamers bounced back with three runs of their own in the top of the fourth. Becca Gorham started off the rally with a double, and Kelly Bowse hit a two-RBI single. With the bases full, Anne Doyle knocked in another run with a single and an all-out slide into first base for good measure.
After the Mamas went down quickly in the fourth, Shawna O’Donnell singled down the third-base line to lead off the Creamers’ fifth. Zoë Nugent hit a sharp liner to third, and Kelly Silvia put the Creamers in front, 5-4, with a two-run single into right center. With runners at the corners, Julie “Mambo” Rodenbaugh knocked in another run, and Silvia used smart, aggressive baserunning to tumble into home with the seventh run.
The Mamas went quietly in the bottom of the fifth, but closed out the Creamers sixth with a fine double-play, with Jenna Zechner tagging the runner and throwing to second baseman Gail Herman for the final out.
Down, 7-4, in the home half of the sixth, the Mamas had to get going. Lauren Williston ripped a leadoff double, and they were on their way. Emily Williston followed with another double to score sister Lauren, Hayley Panek hit another two-bagger to score Emily, and Gail Herman tied the game with an RBI single.
In the decisive seventh inning, with one out and Jenny Wojtkielo on base, Jenna hit the ball halfway to Educomp, and the Mamas, a team playing for a mere six seasons, were champions for a fourth time. That’s a title-winning percentage of .667, and the mark of a dynasty.