The Eastern softball team had a wild time with visiting Washington Township on Tuesday.
Eastern, the fifth seed, scored four of its first five runs on wild pitches en route to an 8-4 victory over Township in a semifinal of the South Jersey Group 4 tournament.
The Vikings (16-6) advance to the sectional final at third-seeded Shawnee (21-5) in a game scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday. Eastern defeated Shawnee, 11-3, in an Olympic Conference game May 13.
"This is absolutely huge," Eastern pitcher Sam Lemm said about advancing to the final. "This is the second time we've done it in Eastern history."
The victory that propelled the Vikings into the final was made possible by Lemm's pitching and hitting, and a little wildness.
Lemm, who threw three shutouts to get the Vikings to the semifinal, allowed nine hits, struck out six and walked one in throwing 112 pitches. The senior graded her own performance an eight on a scale of one to 10.
"My [ball] movement could have been a little better," Lemm said. "Sometimes it was hanging, and they got some hits off of that."
Township pitcher Alissa Schoelkropf had a bigger problem. The junior's rise ball was rising so high that it occasionally sailed over freshman catcher Kylie Mullholland.
Eastern tied the score, 2-2, in the first inning on two wild-high pitches. The Vikings tied it, 3-3, in the third on the same-type throw, and in the fourth took their first lead, 5-3, on an RBI single by sophomore center fielder Cherelle Chambers, who then scored from second on another wild-high pitch.
In the fifth, Chambers powered a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to center field to score a run, and Lemm followed with a two-run single to left field to give Eastern an 8-3 lead.
"It gave us a boost," Chambers said about the wild pitches. "Our girls getting on base was a big thing. If they didn't, my sacrifice fly would have been just an out.
"We have a lot of respect for her [Schoelkropf]. Everyone has their days. We were 1-1 against them in the regular season. She is definitely a good pitcher."
Township's Taylor Coroneos, who relieved Schoelkropf in the fourth inning trailing by 5-3, scored the Minutemaids' fourth run on a fielder's choice in the sixth.
"She's a much better pitcher than she showed today obviously because that's why we're here," Township coach Tracy Burkhart said about Schoelkropf.
Washington Township 2010010 - 490
Eastern 201230x - 852
WP: Sam Lemm. LP: Alissa Schoelkropf. 2B: WT-Abria Tinsley, Christina Austin.