On the eve of winning the gold medla, Herb Brooks told his United States Olympic Hockey Team in 1980 that great moments were born of great opportunity.
The Charger softball team has its opportunity to have its moment.
Hillsdale continued a remarkable run through the conference tournament with a come-from-behind 7-6 victory over Tiffin University in a winner's bracket semifinal game Saturday afternoon in Akron, Ohio. The win makes Hillsdale 22-26 overall and places the team in Sunday's Great Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament championship game against either Tiffin or Cedarville.
With the double elimination format of the tournament, the Chargers would need to win once out of a possible two games to claim back-to-back conference championships. If Hillsdale wins the first game against either opponent, it wins the title. If Hillsdale loses the first game, scheduled for 11 a.m., then a winner-take-all game would be played. That's the benefit this team earned itself by going 3-0 through the tournament's first three rounds.
Winning that third game was a test of the heart in more ways than one for the Chargers and their loyal fans. Hillsdale grabbed a 2-1 lead when junior Victoria Addis hit her second home run of the tournament, followed by an RBI single by Amanda Marra in the bottom of the second. Marra's hit brought home Emma Johnson to help Hillsdale rebound from an early deficit to take the lead.
It wouldn't be the last time that happened in this wild game.
Tiffin struck for four runs in the bottom of the fifth to jump ahead 5-3.
But an epic sixth inning followed that saw Hillsdale score four runs of its own, answering the Dragon rally in dramatic fashion.
Sam Catron got it started with an RBI double, scoring Katie Kish to make it a 5-4 game. Hillsdale then took advantage of a Tiffin error, pushing the tying run across on a Stoner fielder's choice. Addis' sacrifice fly scored Morgan Cox, and Johnson then provided a huge run with a single that brought Taylor home.
In the middle of all this, freshman pitcher Camryn Olson once again came through with some clutch pitching. She was put into the game when Tiffin loaded the bases in the fifth inning with one out. After allowing one hit, she got the final two outs of the frame with a strikeout and a fielder's choice.
Tiffin threatened again in the sixth, but Olson worked her way through, forcing the Dragons to strand two runners on base in both the fifth and sixth innings. She pitched a perfect seventh to clinch the well-deserved win for her and her team.
Johnson was outstanding at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a run batted in and a run scored for the Chargers. Stoner and Marra each had a pair of hits for Hillsdale.