The Gardiner High School Tigers hadn’t won a state softball championship since 1980 and it didn’t look like they were going to during Saturday’s wild 10-9 state Class B title game victory over Winslow at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.
The Tigers found themselves trailing Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference rival Winslow 9-5 in the bottom of the sixth inning.
But the resilient Tigers managed to score four runs in the bottom of the sixth with just two hits thanks to aggressive baserunning and some Winslow errors and walks.
And that set the stage for Corinne Vasvary’s heroics.
Vasvary belted a two-out triple in the bottom of the seventh and scampered home on a passed ball to complete the dramatic comeback.
Gardiner, the second seed in the South, completed a 19-2 campaign by winning its eighth straight game.
Winslow, the eighth seed in the North, concluded a 13-8 season. The Black Raiders had won six of its previous seven games.
Each team had allowed only seven runs in its four playoff wins and had scored 21 themselves.
But it was a different story on Saturday as both teams lit up the scoreboard.
Leah Knight’s triple, a passed ball, a walk and Emma Michaud’s run-scoring base hit staked Winslow to a 2-0 lead.
Taylor Takatsku’s homer sliced the lead in half and, after Winslow answered with a run in the top of third, Gardiner scored four unanswered runs to take a 5-3 lead thanks to Lainey Cooley’s RBI triple and Takatsu’s run-scoring double.
But then it was Winslow’s turn to respond in the see-saw affair and the Black Raiders rang up the next six runs behind Harly Pomerleau’s RBI single and two-run base hits by Lacey Sillanpaa and Kaci Fortin.
Takatsu, Cooley and Vasvary, who are all sophomores, were the repeat hitters for Gardiner. Takatsu had her homer and double and Cooley and Vasvary each tripled and singled. Devin Clary added a triple.
Cooley picked up the win in the circle.
Knight had a game-high four hits for the Black Raiders, who were looking for their first state title since 2005.
Michaud struck out eight in absorbing the loss.