Babes take semifinal thriller


Never, ever count out a champion.
The Redgut Babes will get a chance to defend their Rainy River District Women’s Fastball League title after a three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh carried them to a 9-8 win over Northwest Bay in their semifinal matchup at the Rodrick and Telford Bruyere Ball Field on Couchiching First Nation last night.
In a battle between the league’s top two teams in the regular season (Redgut finishing ahead of Northwest Bay), it came down to some clutch hitting by the Babes in their final at-bat trailing 8-6.
Kayla Windigo led off the inning by pounding a triple into the right-centre field gap.
After Northwest Bay pitcher Darcy Smith struck out Alyssa Windego, Micaela Jack hit a grounder to second that Kersten Smith couldn’t pick up cleanly on her backhand side to allow Windigo to score.
Redgut starter Tracy Morningstar then aided her own cause with a missile to left field that found the fence for an RBI triple to tie the contest.
Taylor Windego then hit a roller to Smith at second, with the speedy Morningstar taking off for home.
Kersten Smith came up firing, but her throw went wide of the plate, as Morningstar crossed safely with the winning run and was immediately ensconced in a neon-green shirted mob of Redgut joy.
The Babes were without ace pitcher Lynn Windego (in Dryden for playoffs in her regular league) and power hitter Beulah Perreault for last night’s game.
Northwest Bay looked to be in position to capitalize, breaking a 2-2 tie in the fourth with a pair of runs via an RBI groundout by Lana Smith and a wild pitch by Morningstar that both she and catcher Windigo chased after, leaving home plate unguarded to the delight of Kersten Smith, who raced in safely to make it 4-2.
Redgut replied immediately in the bottom of the frame, scoring four times.
Taylor Windego tripled home Morningstar after her leadoff single and Windigo followed that up with a bases-loaded two-run single that perfectly split the Northwest Bay middle infield for a 5-4 lead.
Then, with runners on the corners, Shana Windigo then zoomed home on the back end of a double steal after Northwest Bay catcher Shae-Lynn Smith tried to gun down the Redgut runner swiping second.
But Northwest Bay regrouped in the fifth and tied it when Kim Councillor drove in Trish Smith and Lori Smith followed right after with an RBI triple that took a bad hop in front of Shana Windigo in right and rolled past her to the fence.
Northwest Bay took the lead in the sixth on back-to-back doubles by Shae-Lynn Smith and Darcy Smith and added an insurance run in the seventh when Joyce Smith’s single brought in Councillor.
Lynn Windego is expected to be back on the mound for Redgut in Game 1 of the final against the No. 4-seeded Manitou Blaze at 6 p.m. (game location was unconfirmed at press time).
The Blaze beat the Babes 9-7 earlier in the postseason and are a spotless 3-0 so far in the playoffs, riding the red-hot arm of starter Karma Andy, who has only allowed 17 runs in three games in Manitou’s postseason march.
That means one win either on Monday or next Wednesday (Aug. 27) will give the expansion Manitou side the title, while the Babes’ 4-1 postseason mark means they must beat the Blaze twice to hold onto their crown.