PLYMOUTH — Two and a half hours came and went as top-seeded Epping and No. 2 Wilton-Lyndeborough battled for the Division IV crown on Saturday, and what a game it was.
By the time the 12-inning marathon finally came to a close, fans had grown restless after sitting on pins and needles for so long. Finally, it was the Warriors who threw their gloves in the air as they began to celebrate the school’s first softball championship since 2014. This time around, a 6-5 win over the defending champion Blue Devils.
Wilton-Lyndeborough took the lead for good in the top half of the 12th. Rachel Christino led the frame off with a sharply hit double down the left field line and advanced to third on a fly out.
With Christino 60 feet away, Brooke Lane sent a single of her own into left field, plating Christino.
Lexi Balam then set down the Epping offense in the bottom half, going 1-2-3 after allowing a Jenna Lavoie single.
It wasn’t even the craziest inning, either. That award went to the ninth, where both sides scraped across three runs. The Warriors were confident it was enough to finally get rid of Epping, but the Blue Devils weren’t ready to let go just yet.
Trailing 5-2 after Madison Raymond, Balam and Janel Bachand scored in Wilton-Lyndeborough’s half of the frame, Gracie Re smacked a solo shot down the left-field line to cut Epping’s deficit to two.
The next batter, Jade Gagnon, was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on an Isabella Snyder infield single. That set the table for Laura Duguie to send a triple over the right fielder’s head that drove in the tying run.
Both Balam and Snyder were outstanding in the circle as each went the distance and struck out eight.
Erika Macleod scored the game’s first run in the first inning to put Epping ahead, 1-0. The Blue Devils doubled their lead in the fourth when Duguie came around to score in the fourth.
The Warriors finally struck in the sixth to cut the Epping lead in half as Bachand scored, and later tied the game in what was their last chance in regulation, the top of the seventh, when Balam drove in Abby Dowling with a single to center.