LEBANON — Wheeler High’s softball team prepared for its showdown with St. Bernard on Monday in a most unusual manner on Saturday.
The Lions played two games at two different sites and earned victories in both of them.
The first was a 9-5 win against Windham and the second was a bizarre 16-2 extra-inning triumph against Lyman Memorial.
The two wins clinched at least a share of the ECC-Small championship, a first for the program.
In the victory against Lyman, the Lions took a 2-0 lead into the seventh. But the Bulldogs loaded the bases with two outs and scored the trying runs on a single to force extra innings.
Lyman had pinch hit for starting pitcher Annie Hardy twice in the game meaning she had to leave the contest.
Three Lyman relief pitchers then combined for 14 walks in the eighth as the Lions scored 14 runs.
“This one was weird,” Wheeler coach Joe Cawley said.
Wheeler finished with seven hits and Kylie Baker was 3 for 6 with four RBIs. Winning pitcher Jenn Paride also drove in three runs. Raven Houck, Jess Morgan and Kaite Morgan contributed two RBIs each.
Paride finished with nine strikeouts and walked a pair. Both runs scored against her were earned.
Wheeler is 13-3 overall and 9-0 in the ECC-Small with the two wins. The Lions travel to St. Bernard Monday for a 1:30 p.m. game.
The Saints are 8-1 in the league. A Wheeler win would give the Lions the outright ECC-Small title. A St. Bernard win would result in the two teams sharing the title.
Wheeler beat the Saints 1-0 in extra innings earlier this season.
Wheeler has already qualified for the ECC tournament. for the first time.
WINDHAM — Baker hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Paride struck out 12 in the Wheeler victory.
Baker’s home run sailed over the left field fence scoring Paride and Jess Morgan. Paride and Morgan had singled earlier in the inning.
Wheeler led 9-0 after five before the Whippets (3-16, 1-9 ECC-Small) scored five runs in the final two innings.
Houck was 3 for 4 with a double and triple. Morgan, Paride, Morgan and Emma stock finished with two hits each.
Paride pitched the first five innings allowing just one hit while striking out 12.
St. Bernard..................... 10
N. STONINGTON — Wheeler High pushed across seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game, but the Saints responded with a run in the top of the seventh to earn the ECC-Small win Saturday.
Freshman Chris Munzer, who is hitting .327 this season, drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double in the sixth. Munzer finished 4 for 4 with three RBIs.
St. Bernhard (13-6, 6-4 ECC-Small) had taken a 8-2 lead with six runs in the fifth.
Mike Dellaporta finished 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs, a double and two runs scored. Kevin Knowles also scored twice.
Munzer took the loss in relief of starter Dylan Wilkinson.
Wheeler (3-14, 1-9) travels to Parish Hill on Wednesday at 3 p.m. for a doubleheader.