He’s seen it countless times before, but Ripley coach Mike Torrance never stops being amazed by Sam Eimers’ ability to come through when it counts.
Eimers latest highlight came in the third inning of last Saturday’s Section 6 Class D final when she ripped a bases-loaded double to plate three runs and boost the Eagles to an 8-0 lead over Pine Valley.
Ripley never looked back, earning its second straight sectional title with an 8-3 victory over the Panthers at Niagara Falls High School.
“I don’t have enough to say about the kid,” Torrance said of his senior shortstop. “That hit opened the game right up. That’s the thing about Sam, when you need her she’s there. She’s done that since eighth grade. I’ve never seen anyone like her, not in our school and not in our area.”
The Eagles played in the Far West Regionals earlier this week on Tuesday against Alba of Section 5 in Scio.
Not unexpectedly, Pine Valley chipped away at Ripley’s big lead with a run in the third and two runs in the fifth but couldn’t muster enough offense against Damaris Mason to make up for the myriad of mistakes it made in the first couple of innings.
Against the first five batters of the game, Pine Valley hit a batter and committed three errors and Ripley converted those miscues into four runs.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t come out with more intensity,” Pine Valley coach Scott Reynolds said. “They’re a good team. They put pressure on us because we know we can’t make mistakes. You make mistakes against a good team and it’s hard to come back.”
After the four-run first, in which Kailyn Bentley had a run batted in with a single and Mason added one on a groundout, the Eagles added a run in the second before blowing the game open in the third inning. Ashley Judd and Ashley Howser opened the inning with singles before Lindsey Bostwick was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Eimers followed with a line drive that the outfielder had trouble with, allowing all three runs to score and Eimers to end up on second base.
Torrance was thrilled to see the big lead on the scoreboard in centerfield.