By Tom Price Jr.
A late cell phone call in the dugout helped lift the spirits of the Exeter Monarhcs girls softball team who overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat Kerman in the semifinals of the small schools division of the Buchanan Softball Tournament Saturday.
Just hours after shortstop Jody Williamson was brought face first to the ground while trying to turn a double play in the second inning, breaking her arm, she was calling from the hospital to check on the team.
"The team was emotionally upset," Exeter coach Karen Zeibak said. "They were determined to win the game for Jody."
The team trailed 2-0 after the second inning but responded with a run in the bottom of the third inning. Courtney Grim who replaced Williamson in the lineup singled to right-center and eventually scored on a throwing error following an Amy Noel bunt. Trailing by one run in the waning minutes of the game which was shortened due to time limit, Grim again started a rally, this time with a single up the middle. Noel followed with a bunt single and Marlene Gonzales reached base after being hit by a pitch.
Senior catcher Jess Morris lined a hard ground ball to shortstop scoring the tying run. Exeter won the game 3-2 when Melissa Roposa hit a line drive to left field while facing a full count.
"They were very much playing for Jody," Zeibak said. "To us that was our championship game."
The Monarchs dedicated the second place trophy to Willamson after the game. She will miss the entire season with the injury which broke the the ulna and radius bones in her lower arm.
Perhaps drained by the emotions of losing a teammate and getting a comeback win, Exeter couldn't overcome Kingsburg in the championship game losing 6-1
Noel pitched in five of the seven games losing only in the championship. She was also the team's leading hitter with seven singles.
Roposa and Amanda Bybee each had four hits including two doubles apiece. Before leaving with the injury Williamson had three singles in the tournament.