By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
When Adriana James finishes her Warren Regina softball career in two years, there’s a chance her most tense at bat will have come on the final day of her freshman season.
That afternoon, the last of last spring, saw the freshman James bring home the winning run in Regina’s extra-inning 3-2 Division 1 championship game win over Howell at Secchia Stadium.
Teammate Marisa Muglia opened the bottom of the eighth inning by reaching base on an error. She then moved all the way to third on a sacrifice – and Howell countered by walking the next two batters to set up force plays at every base.
Up stepped James. She’d walked and scored in her first plate appearance, then struck out twice. But this time she swatted the first pitch she saw between the pitcher’s circle and second base. The ball deflected off the pitcher’s glove, giving the runners enough time to advance safely and Muglia plenty to cross the plate with the game winner.
“All (the pitcher’s) balls were moving outside. I just saw the ball right on the inside corner, low, and I just went for it,” James said that day. “We had nothing to lose, and it paid off. I was surprised they walked the two batters because it has really never happened. I was really nervous.’’
Check out coverage of the Final from Second Half, and watch the clinching run score below from the NFHS Network.