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White River Valley dethrones Oxbow, advances to title game

  • Oxbow senior Madison Fornwalt pitches the ball during the Division III softball semifinal against White River Valley in Bradford, Vt., on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. White River Valley won, 1-0. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • White River Valley's Chelsie Trask pitches the ball in the fourth inning of the Division III softball semifinal against Oxbow in Bradford, Vt., on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. White River Valley won, 1-0. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • White River Valley's Paige Ballentine slides safe into home plate for a run, with Oxbow's catcher Kaysea Neil at right, during the Division III softball semifinal in Bradford, Vt., on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. White River Valley won, 1-0. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Oxbow's Emma DeGoosh, left, and Lilly Bartlett practice swings before being up to bat in the seventh inning of the Division III softball semifinal against White River Valley in Bradford, Vt., on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. White River Valley won, 1-0. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • From left, White River Valley's Sophie Howe, Fiona Vaillancourt, Sarah Howe and Chelsie Trask embrace in celebration after winning the Division III softball semifinal against Oxbow in Bradford, Vt., on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. White River Valley won, 1-0. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Sarah Copeland-Hanzas comforts her daughter, Oxbow senior Schyler Hanzas, after the team's loss in the Division III softball semifinal against White River Valley in Bradford, Vt., on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. White River Valley won, 1-0. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Correspondent
Tuesday, June 04, 2019

BRADFORD, Vt. — Chelsie Trask pitched the White River Valley School softball team to its first VPA Division III championship game on Tuesday with a four-hit masterpiece against Oxbow.

The No. 3 Wildcats (15-2) defeated the back-to-back defending state champions, 1-0, in Bradford and will play BFA-Fairfax at Castleton University on a day and time to be announced.

Tuesday’s semifinal was the rematch of a game the No. 2 Olympians (15-2) won, 3-0, at home on May 13. That contest was key to the relatively young White River team’s eventual success against Oxbow, according to coach Sandy Gates.

“Since the day we left here last time, and we lost 3-nothing, this team’s sole focus is that they just want to see Oxbow again and they just want to prove to themselves that they can hit (Madison Fornwalt) and that they can beat her and that was it; like nothing else mattered to them,” Gates said. “I think it’s because she sets such a high standard of softball in Division III in Vermont, that they want to prove to themselves that they could play with that.”

Fornwalt, who struck out 14 batters on Tuesday after fanning 16 in Oxbow’s quarterfinal win over Leland and Gray last week, gave up just two hits against the Wildcats — to Paige Ballentine (fourth inning) and Toni Turner (sixth).

Turner tried stealing second after singling up the middle, but was thrown out by Oxbow catcher Kaysea Neil.

Ballentine led off the seventh with a walk, Blake Southworth struck out and Trask walked before Fiona Vaillancourt drove in Ballentine with a ground out to Oxbow shortstop Schyler Hanzas.

Macey Carbino rolled out to end the inning, but the damage inflicted by the Wildcats proved sufficient.

Amber Glaude (two hits) led off the Oxbow seventh with a single before Trask (eight strikeouts) induced a groundout and two fly-ball outs. Carbino made the game-saving catch in right field after a similar ball bounced out of her mitt in the fourth.

Web gems were abundant in a game that featured just a single error.

“Both (playoff) games, (White River) really mentally came together and stayed in it, which has been a struggle for us at times because we’re so young,” Gates said. “Our entire infield is freshmen and sophomores. It’s really hard to get them to just calm down and focus, so I think the biggest win of the day is that they’ve kind of come together and learned, just chill out. They can do it, to trust in themselves.”

Oxbow coach Carl Hildebrandt, said Tuesday’s game was among the quickest and cleanest he had seen all season.

“It’s probably one of the best games I’ve ever coached,” Hildebrandt said. “It’s the wrong game to lose 1-nothing. … They should be proud of all the work they put into the season.”

Notes: Oxbow got hits from Aspen Longmoore and Fornwalt, who was recruited to play next year at Merrimack College. … WRV did not face No. 1 BFA (16-2) during the regular season.