Freshman third baseman Alissa Binkley's walk-off two-run single in the bottom of the seventh propelled Annville-Cleona to a dramatic 5-4 win over Pequea Valley on Monday.
It was a knee-knocking situation for even the most experienced of veterans, let alone for a wide-eyed freshman playing in the first big game of her brief varsity career.
But Alissa Binkley never batted an eye. She did, however, put bat on ball in a most emphatic and thrilling - for her and her teammates - way.
Binkley's two-out, two-run, walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh lifted the Annville-Cleona softball team to a heart-pounding 5-4 victory over arch rival Pequea Valley in a key early-season Section Four showdown at A-C High School on Monday afternoon.
The latest epic encounter between the perennial section powers was a back-and-forth affair filled with head-spinning momentum shifts, but one that the Braves appeared destined to take for much of the afternoon.
That is, until freshman third baseman Binkley stepped to the plate with the outcome resting on her shoulders and lined Sabrina Ryan's first pitch into left field to chase home Cayla Gassert and Morgan Zimmerman with the tying and winning runs.
One swing of the bat can certainly changes things in a hurry.
""I don't have any words," said a grinning Binkley, who did her best to find some. "I'm a freshman, I didn't expect that...I just wanted to put one in play. I was just looking for anything (to hit). I didn't expect for this to happen, to be honest."
The tight struggle was, however, was exactly what A-C head coach Dave Bentz expected, and he was most definitely proven right.
"It was a typical Annville-Pequea game. I don't expect anything different when we go down there at the end of the year," Bentz said. "The ups and downs, it's a credit to both teams. They're down a run, they get two. We're down a run, we get two. It's ups and downs, it's emotional. I didn't think I needed the defibrillator yet, but I did."
The Braves (3-1 Section Four) got the jump in the top of the second against A-C ace Emma Lerchen, when Claudia Shaubach tripled and scored when the relay throw to third skipped out of play.
A-C, after seeing its first seven hitters whiffed by Ryan, pulled even in the third when Cayla Gassert doubled and scored in similar fashion to Shaubach after the throw back to the infield also sailed out of play.
And on it went, with Pequea Valley reclaiming a 2-1 lead on Sierra Glick's bloop RBI single in the fourth, and A-C (4-0 Section Four) sneaking ahead 3-2 in the fifth on Gassert's RBI single and Morgan Zimmerman's sac fly.
But Pequea appeared to have wrested away control for good in the sixth with the help of another costly A-C error and Makenzi Dienner's run-scoring single.
Binkley fllipped that script around, though, after Gassert and Zimmerman's seventh-inning hits put two runners in scoring position and her squarely in the spotlight.
"It's a great hit," Bentz said, choking up with emotion as he discussed Binkley's heroics. "It's a good start for her. She hurt herself early in the year and was out for a couple weeks with a cracked finger. But now you're gonna have to dig her out of that spot. I can't say anything more about her."
"I thought I'd mess it all up and it would all go down on me," Binkley said. "I'm glad it ended the way it did."