MONTGOMERY – Sloan Wooten has provided Montgomery with more than just a reliable bat and an excellent base defense this past year.
I acted as a bridge. The only one to start from the lower class, Wooten bridged the gap between the upper class and the talented, but very young group of reservists. Turns out, Wooten helped both groups lunge.
Montgomery captured the Class A state championship last June, and now one of the younger teams in the area is coming in stronger as it gains more experience. Wooten has gone from a lone starter to team captain in a short 12 months. And on Friday, Wooten led Montgomery to an impressive win.
Wooten threw a solid three batters, struck out eight batters, and went 2-for-4 as Montgomery beat Sullivan County, 8-0, winning their second straight game and giving the Griffins their first loss at Mid-Penn. The Red Raiders (4-3) won their second game in a row, with eight batters striking out a combined 13 strikeouts, and the defense playing faultless softball with all the pieces holding together.
“A lot of these girls look up to me and I want to be there for them, like Faith (Persing) is for me,” “I just want to be the leader for these girls,” said Wooten after also getting a 2-for-4.
She certainly excels in this new role.
Talking the talk and hitting the trail, Wooten was an upbeat player who excelled in the big moments throughout Montgomery’s state title run. She set the tone at the top of Montgomery’s lineup and had her best high school game yesterday, surrendering just one hit over the final six innings, while hitting a career high in strikeouts. The Red Raiders played superior defense behind Wooten and Montgomery scored three runs in the first inning to quickly assert himself.
“Sloane was the mean girl last year. She was a great friend to the seniors and great friends with the little girls, and Sloane did a great job of driving” Glenn said. “She smiles all the time and is always in a good mood. She gives off a good, positive attitude and everyone thrives on that. I couldn’t ask for anyone better there to lead them.”
Wooten quickly energized Montgomery against Sullivan (4-2, 4-1), opening the bottom of the first by whooping to extend one into double the lead. Catcher Zoe Furman followed with an RBI triple in reverse, then Madisyn Miller hit an RBI single. An error led to another run, and in no time Montgomery was leading 3-0.
The Raiders kept their feet on the gas all afternoon, scoring all but one of their six batters. Five players produced multiple hits, including Addi Cross who went 2-for-3 off the bench, adding three RBIs. As the run piled up, Sullivan’s hopes of winning quickly faded since Wooten only got stronger as the game progressed.
“Sloan had a great game,” Glenn said. “I kept their balance.”
The big right fielder made poor contact throughout the game, and fed Sullivan a steady diet of fastballs and high balls, while constantly hitting spots. Wooten threw 70% of her 94 pitches in strikeouts and was especially good at tight spots, forcing the Griffins to an 0-for-6 lead with the Runners in the scoring position.
Second baseman Bryn Fisher had a great play on a sinking line to end the third inning and left fielder Ade Mohl caught a perfect run later. Then Wooten started to dominate late on and hit the final four batters.
Wooten worked hard throughout the off-season preparing to bowl and he showed up yesterday. She forced 19 swings and misses and hit the side in order to finish winning over a team that averaged 11.8 catches in its first five games.
“I know it’s a big change from last year, but I know we can go out with the people behind me,” he said. Wooten said. “They know what to do.”
Attack included. Montgomery only made it twice and never looked for a practical focus. Montgomery produced three hits in four different innings and went up 5-0 in the third when Miller and Muhl singled. Then Cross highlighted the team’s depth, tightening the clutch with a two-outlet, single.
Montgomery added a run on each of the last three batters. Summer Drick, Cross, and Vallyn Ault all had RBIs in those innings. Olt Cross, Drake, Wooten, Foreman and Miller hit two-hits.
“I think once a girl gets a hit, she gains confidence and it’s kind of like a domino effect,” she says. Wooten said. “Each girl gains more confidence and we just keep growing from there.”
Sullivan threatened to lead when Maria Hallabuck hit a single to lead and Amber Kelly added two strokes later. However, Wooten struck out hitters #2 and #4 before Foreman threw a surprise pitch to Miller at third base to throw out the lead-runner trying to steal.
Montgomery continued to excel defensively across the board from there. Indeed, the Raiders excelled in all aspects and played their most complete game of the season against a team that opened the season 4-0. Wooten leads, the young players are growing and Montgomery is gaining confidence as he goes.
“We were aggressive at the bases and did a good job there, we ran some runs fast and that helps. I put the lead on the board and they really work from the back so I think that was an advantage,” he said. Glenn said. “We are getting better every day. Everyone played well today and I couldn’t be happier.”
Sullivan 000 000 0-0 3 3
Montgomery 302111 x –8 13 0
Emilia Veverius and Mallory Dickinson. Sloan Wooten and Zoe Foreman. W: Wooten. L: vivivirus.
Sullivan’s best hitters: Ava Dunham 1-2, 2B; Maria Halabuk 1-3; Amber Kelly 1-3. Montgomery’s top hitters: Wooten 2-4, 2B, Run; Foreman 2-3, 3B, RBI; Madisyn Miller 2-4, RBI, run; Summer Drick 2-4, RBI, 2 runs; Addi Cross 2-3, 3 RBIs; Vallyn Ault 1-2, 2B, RBI, run; Kailyn Woltz 1-1, 2 BBs, run; Addi Muhl 1-4, run.
Records: Montgomery (4-3, 4-2 Mid-Pen), Sullivan (4-2, 4-1 Mid-Pen).