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On Saturday, June 6, the Harwood Union softball team hosted the Lancers of Lamoille in a quarterfinal playoff game. For the winner, a date with four-time defending state champion, Lyndon, in the semi-finals. For the loser, a long summer of what-ifs.
The Highlanders took advantage of four Lancer errors to take a 2-0 lead in the first inning. In the third inning, Harwood shortstop Hannah Lovely dropped a single behind third base. Brittany Hoare followed with a single to right field, and when the right fielder misplayed the ball, Lovely came all the way around to score.
Randi Lowe singled in the fifth and advanced to second on a ground out. She scored on a single by Hoare to put the Lady Highlanders up 4-0 at this point.
The Lady Lancers made their bid for the game in the sixth frame. With three errors, two singles and a wild pitch, the score was suddenly tied at 4-4 and Lamoille was still threatening with a runner on third. Harwood was able to record the final out before the Lancers took the lead.
The score remained tied for the rest of regulation and through the seventh. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Harwood's Sarah Danaher smoked a hard single between first and second, just out of the reach of the second baseman. Chelsea Delphia advanced Danaher with a sacrifice bunt. After the second out was recorded, Katy Bickford came to bat. Bickford poked a soft but high liner into right center. The Lamoille centerfielder could not put the ball away as it popped out of her glove and onto the ground. Danaher dashed home for the winning run and into a mob of Harwood players as she reached the dugout.
The victory was Harwood's 15th and keeps alive their run at the state title. Ashley Sweet was credited with the win. Brittany Hoare and Randi Lowe each had two hits on the day. Hoare also stole two bases.
The results of the Harwood-Lyndon semi-final were not available at press time. The finals will be played in Poultney on either Friday or Saturday this week.