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Tiger softball edges Slaters

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Union High School softball team opened its season on Saturday in dramatic fashion, defeating visiting Fair Haven, 7-6, when junior shortstop Lily Smith drilled a one-out, bases-loaded shot to right center in the bottom of the seventh inning that snapped a 6-6 tie.
Smith’s drive, which one hopped the fence and probably would have gone for a triple in most circumstances, went in the books as a single because the game ended when Abby Larock, who started the winning rally with a single, crossed home plate with the winning run. Bridget Audet singled and Darcy Staats drew a walk from losing pitcher Sam Morse to set the table for Smith.
The Slaters had rallied from an early deficit to tie the game at 6-6 with three runs in the fourth and two in the top of the seventh off winning pitcher Payton Buxton. In all, Buxton allowed five hits and four earned runs, hit one batter and struck out 12.
In the top of the seventh, after a Slater baserunner reached on a dropped popup Briley Blackbird, Hunter Buxton and Olivia Bowen poked consecutive singles to tie the score at 6-6. But Buxton got the next two batters to strand the go-ahead runs on base.
For the Tigers, senior catcher Hannah Lawrence homered on the first pitch she saw in the top of the second. Senior second baseman Makayla Foster singled in two runs in the second inning and added a bunt single and a sacrifice, and Audet singled in a pair of runs in the third inning. Those runs were charged to Bowen, who started for the Slaters. The Tigers added an unearned run off Morse in the sixth on an error, a passed ball and an illegal pitch.

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