TOWNSHEND — In an unusual victory celebration following Friday's Division 3 softball quarterfinal, first baseman Courtney Tatro picked up winning pitcher Emilee Bose and sprinted with her from home plate all the way to first base.
It was the only time Tatro had to run down that line all day.
The clean-up hitter was hit by a pitch, intentionally walked, she fouled out, and also blasted a three-run homer as No. 5 Enosburg upset fourth-seeded Leland & Gray 7-6.
"These two teams are very well matched," said Rebels coach Tammy Claussen. "I couldn't be more proud of our effort. To be down 7-3 and rally like we did shows our dedication and determination."
Leading 4-3, the visitors erupted for three insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Eliza Blake's two-run double to left and a sacrifice fly from Bri Severence did the damage.
And then the Rebels answered by scoring three times in the bottom of the seventh to fall just short. Jessie Stockwell started things off with a single to right, Rachel Borgesen drew a walk and Caroline Tietz reached on an error, which scored the lead-off hitter. Birthday girl Mackenzie Boyle delivered an RBI groundout and Tietz went home on a wild pitch, before Bose got Gabby Donna looking to end it.
"We were expecting a very challenging game. We knew we would have to be at our best to win this one," Claussen said.
The Hornets would steal a 1-0 advantage in the top of the first on Blake's RBI double to left. But the Rebels battled right back in the bottom of the frame, with Stockwell singling to right and Borgesen following with the first homer of her career --- a two-run shot over the fence in left.
Enosburg later put up three runs in the third to go up 4-2. Anestasia Neuberger led off with a bloop single and Mariah Archembauly walked, setting the stage for Tatro's three-run blast over the fence in right.
The Rebels drew within 4-3 in the fourth, when Keltsey Rushton drew a walk and pinch runner Sarah Andersen made her way around the bases via a steal and a couple of passed balls.
Rushton and Bose would then each throw a couple of scoreless innings. In the top of the fifth, Claussen decided to intentionally walk the powerful Tatro with two outs and runners at second and third. The move paid off as Rushton got out of the jam when Blake grounded out to second baseman Jessica Madore.
"If she gives me another good pitch, you can bet money that I will hit it over the fence again," Tatro said to one of her coaches when warming up infielders in the middle of the fifth.
And she nearly did, launching one toward the corner in right in the seventh --- it was ruled foul, but several onlookers believe the ball hit chalk.
Gouger and Stockwell both had a couple of hits for the 14-4 Rebels. Rushton fanned nine, walked three and gave up eight hits.
Blake and Neuberger each finished with two hits for the Hornets, who advanced to the D-3 semifinals. Bose struck out eight, walked four and allowed six hits before being carried by Tatro down the first base line to celebrate the postseason win.