SHADYSIDE - With her team up by four runs entering the bottom of the seventh and the last three hitters in Bridgeport's lineup due to the plate, Shadyside softball coach Jillian Ongley still wasn't sure a victory was in hand.
She had good reason for that.
"We seem to have trouble with the bottom of the order against teams in the last inning,'' Johnson said after watching the Bulldogs (15-7) score three times to cut a 5-1 margin to 5-4. "I don't know what it is."
However, the Tigers (10-10) were able to hold on for a 5-4 triumph in Ohio Division IV sectional tournament action on the Mead Township Park diamond. They will face Steubenville Catholic in a co-sectional at 5 on Tuesday at the same site. The Crusaders eliminated Jefferson County rival Toronto, 9-0, earlier Saturday.
"We never make it easy at the end for some reason," Johnson said.
Shadyside bolted to a 4-0 lead thanks to the bat of Megan Heagney. The Alderson-Broaddus recruit smacked a two-run single in the first inning, and then added a two-run blast over the fence in left in the third.
When she wasn't banging the ball around the park, she was keeping Bridgeport off the scoreboard through five innings. She struck out 10 - including five straight at one point early on - and walked just one.
"Megan has been doing that all season," Ongley said.
Bridgeport finally dented the scoreboard in the sixth when Miranda Bowers singled home Caitlin Kroll.
Shadyside responded with a run in the bottom seventh to make it 5-1, but the Bulldogs scratched and clawed their away back.
Josie Bugaj drew a leadoff walk and one out later, pinch-hitter Alexis Wilson singled. Kroll then lined a shot to right-center that got both runners home and resulted in a double. Bowers' infield single with two outs chased in Kroll, but Heagney ended the game with a strikeout.
"The girls played hard and fight until the end," Bridgeport coach Tom Joseph said. "We just waited too long to get our bats going, but Megan is a good pitcher and I wish Shadyside all the luck."
Sarah Dierkes and Kenzie Fielding each had three hits to lead Shadyside's 11-hit attack, with Fielding driving in a run