West Roxbury’s injury-plagued softball team clinched a berth in the city championships on Friday afternoon in the most dramatic fashion possible, a 15-14 win over South Boston.
The come-from-behind victory on the final day of the regular season gave the Raiders the tiebreaker over Dorchester for the wildcard slot in Saturday’s city championship semifinal against East Boston.
“We could win or lose by 20 points in cities, I don’t care,” junior Nadia Ellies said as she walked off Kirby Field in South Boston victorious.
After trailing 8-2 in the early innings, Westie scored eight of its own runs in the fifth inning and one in the sixth to take a 14-10 lead. South Boston tied the game at 14 in the sixth inning before the Raiders took the lead for good when Ellies scored from third base on a wild pitch.
Westie and Eastie will play at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Clemente Field in the Fens while Latin Academy and O'Bryant will play in the other semifinal at 11 a.m. on Cobe Field, also in the Fens.
The championship game is slated for 10 a.m. on Monday at Cobe Field.
West Roxbury has qualified for the city tournament in two of the previous three seasons but coach Grace V. Diggs said she’s never won the tournament in her 20-year tenure. She said qualifying this year is a bit more sweet than in past years because she has four injured players, including three seniors.
“We’ve had a lousy season as far as injuries but we pulled it off,” Diggs said. “I guess just the luck was on our side … It is special and it’s exciting because we don’t have our full team so that makes it special.”
Trailing 10-5 going into the fifth inning, West Roxbury batted around before it tied the game when Ellies’ twin sister, junior catcher Nakia Ellies, knocked in junior Selena Gonzalez. Nakia Ellies eventually scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball before Nadia Ellis logged an RBI single and junior pitcher Marissa Serrette hit an RBI double to make it 13-10.
After Westie scored another run in the sixth, South Boston responded with four runs to tie the game at 14. Senior infielder Yaritza Otero, senior third baseman Francois Mitchel, senior center fielder Katrina Hernandez and junior second baseman Crystalyn Mitchel all scored runs as Southie only made one out.
Then Serrette struck out the next batter. And after she allowed the go-ahead runner on base, she struck out the next batter to retire the side.
Serrette, who recorded the win by striking out eight batters, also allowed the game-tying run on base in Southie’s final at bat before closing the game on a strike out and a ground out.
“Our outfield isn’t that great because we took a lot of JV players,” said Serrette, who was 4 for 4 from the plate with a double and 2 RBIs. “My focus was getting it over the plate and getting it to the twins’ gloves. I was trying to keep it out of the outfield as much as possible because they are still learning how to catch.”
Nakia Ellies,the team's vocal leader from her perch behind the plate and on the bench, said playing from behind doesn’t faze her team.
“I always play like we’re coming back so yes you can never know what’s going to happen,” she said when asked if she was nervous about South Boston’s comeback.
The twins are not just glad to be going to city tournament, but they are glad to be going together.
“It’s been long season, it’s been a hard season so even getting to cities is an accomplishment for us,” Nadia Ellies said. “This is the second year I’m playing with [my twin sister] so it feels good to be there.”
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