It wasn’t easy by any means, but the surging Chapin softball team secured its first state playoff district championship in nine years on Wednesday, nipping Clinton 2-1 in the Class 3A District VI finale at home.
It was the third straight one-run district triumph for the Eagles on the way to the title, but the first that did not require extra innings to accomplish. There was still plenty of drama.
Brittany Barr and Whitley Martin filled the starring role for the Eagles. Barr, a junior, tossed a four-hitter with four strikeouts and no walks and scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Martin, who had the game-winning hits in each of Chapin’s first two district triumphs, delivered again in the clutch with a ringing double to plate Barr in the sixth.
Barr, who now sports a 9-2 pitching record, had to come up big under tremendous pressure in the top of the seventh to finally send the visiting Red Devils packing. Clinton mounted its last-ditch rally thanks to shoddy Chapin defense. Two Eagles boots put Clinton runners on second and third base with one out. Barr then got a huge strikeout for the second out, and ended the issue by gloving a comeback bounder and throwing to first for the final out.
Savannah Frick doubled and Jenna Taylor drove her home with a single after showing bunt to stake Chapin to a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Clinton countered with the equalizer in the top of the fourth when Alyssa Renwick, who has signed to play at Penn State, doubled and scored on an infield hit.
Chapin, which also won its first region pennant in nine year this spring, moves on to the 3A Upper State championship tournament with a 21-2 record, and riding an 18-game winning streak. The Eagles’ last Elite Eight appearance was in 2000 at the 2A level.
The Eagles host J.L. Mann in the Upper State opener on Saturday at 2 p.m.