The timing of Wednesday's 7-5 Metea Valley softball team's win over No. 9-ranked Waubonsie Valley couldn't have been better for the Mustangs.
Although Metea (8-19, 6-12 Upstate Eight Valley) has battled consistently throughout the year, the effort hasn't shown in the numbers and some momentum was needed before Monday's playoff opener.
"We really, really needed this after a tough season," said junior Megan Arcivar said. "It could have been any team, but the fact it's Waubonsie Valley, our rival, makes it much better."
With the score tied at 2, the Mustangs took control of the game in the fourth with five runs on five hits to take a 7-2 lead.
With one out Alise Perna reached on a fielding error. Megan Archey and Kara Leckinger followed with singles to load the bases. Arcivar's single to right brought Perna home. Archey was walked and Lisa Harrington's single to right scored Leckinger to make it 5-2.
Metea wasn't done. With two out Katie Kennedy put a single in center field to score Arcivar and Monica Jauch.
Waubonsie (25-7, 16-3) has also battled all season and didn't go away easily. Christina Pembrook led off the bottom of the fifth by depositing a 2-2 pitch well over the left-field fence and into the trees next to the Warriors' field. Jordan Kurth then reached on a fielder's choice and was safe on a throw to the plate on another fielder's choice play with two outs to pull the Warriors to within 7-4.
The next inning saw Sabrina Calabrese start the inning with a single to center and come home on Kurth's basehit. Waubonsie, however, left the bases loaded in that inning.
"This feels really good," Perna said. "We strung together some hits and the hitting continued."
Jenna Hall earned the victory. She pitched 5⅓ innings and struck out 3. Sophomore Elise Titiner finished the game to earn her second save of the season.
"The kids played well. They came out swinging the bats, they executed well and the defense was clean," said Metea coach Kris Kalivas. "This will give us a good amount of confidence going into the next week.
The Mustangs open the Class 4A playoffs with a regional quarterfinal game at Benet at 4:30 p.m. Monday against Batavia. Metea is seeded 17th in the Oswego East sectional and the Bulldogs are 16th.
Waubonsie scored first Wednesday, when with two outs Melaina Koulos was hit by a pitch and scored on Shannon Hohman's single to center. In the third, with Metea leading 2-0, Layne Thresh led off with a single and scored on Amanda Lack's base hit to tie the game.
It was Waubonsie's second loss in as many days. The Warriors' 17-game winning streak ended Tuesday with a 2-1 defeat to Bartlett.
"It was a rough day today and yesterday. Things didn't go our way," said Warriors coach Valerie Wood. "We had runners every inning (today) and the bases loaded twice and the offense didn't happen."
Waubonsie, seeded fifth in the Oswego sectional, starts regional play Tuesday with a semifinal game against regional host Geneva at 4:30 p.m. The Vikings are seeded 11th.