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Brooke Scherer's walk-off single lifts Clarke over Division

Clarke's Brooke Scherer, right, gets congratulated after delivering

Clarke's Brooke Scherer, right, gets congratulated after delivering a walk-off RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Rams to a 1-0 win over Division in a Nassau softball game at Clarke High School on Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Credit: James Escher

Brooke Scherer delivered a dramatic walk-off hit and then hung up her jersey for good. It is never to be worn again.

"It feels great to retire this jersey," she said after her two-out hit in the eighth inning gave Clarke a 1-0 win over Division in softball.

By the sound of it, one might think it was her last game. But don't be confused, she's only a junior, and she has many at-bats remaining. But her walk-off hit did more than just get the Rams a victory.

It got them new jerseys.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Clarke coach Rachel Barry told the team that there was a box inside the school with something in it for them.

"She said if we want it, we have to win," pitcher Sarah Cornell said.

They didn't win it in the seventh, but that simply meant they'd spend a few more outs in their old jerseys.

Selena Ruiz got it started in the eighth with a walk and Cornell followed with a single just inside the rightfield line. After a fielder's choice, the runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Scherer then drove an outside pitch to deep centerfield, scoring Cornell, and ending an era for those old maroon Clarke jerseys.

"I just wanted to make solid contact to win the game," Scherer said. "Once I did, I had a feeling it was game over."

After the game, Barry told the team what was inside the box, setting off a loud cheer.

"They designed them themselves," she said, "and they've been waiting a long time."

Cornell -- who relied mainly on her fastball and rise, but also mixed in an occasional change-up -- allowed two hits and two walks, and struck out 16 over eight shutout innings.

With runners on first and third with two outs in the top of the sixth, Division's Alexis Alvino came within inches of hitting a three-run home run down the leftfield line, but the ball carried just foul. Cornell then got her looking to end the inning for Clarke (3-1).

"I just wanted to get in and out really quickly so we could get to the plate and score some runs," Cornell said.

Justine Jean matched zeros through seven innings for Division (1-2), not allowing a hit until Cornell grounded a chopper up the middle with two outs in the sixth. Jean worked the outside of the plate with a nasty curveball, striking out 14, allowing four hits and three walks.

But then Scherer essentially gave her teammates the jersey off her back . . . and put new ones on all of theirs. "I'm thrilled to put on those new jerseys," Scherer said. "We'll keep the old ones in the closet."

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