As dramatic endings go, the Shoreline Conference softball final between Coginchaug and Haddam Killingworth on Saturday was, well, extra dramatic — literally.
The Blue Devils won 5-4 on a walk-off single by Kayla Votto in the bottom of the ninth inning, ending a back-and-forth battle that saw both teams come within one out of hoisting the trophy.
Check out Patch's video highlight of the game-winning hit
HK took a 2-0 lead into the sixth inning behind a strong performance by pitcher Ashley Cook, who retired 16 of the first 18 Coginchaug batters.
But the Blue Devils' Kayla Votto cut the lead in half with an RBI triple and when two more Blue Devils runners got into scoring position, the Cougars decided to intentionally walk Ashley Vanaman to get to Katelyn Williams.
Williams made them pay.
The sophomore outfielder cracked a two-out line drive into left field, allowing Votto and Mari Handley to score. The Blue Devils jumped ahead 3-2.
Handley, who was named Shoreline Conference Pitcher of the Year before the game, took the mound in the seventh inning needing just three outs for the title.
HK was nearly finished when Samantha Waskowitz singled with two-outs and then stole second base on a play that some Coginchaug fans and players thought may have ended the game.
Instead, Taylor Burger hit an RBI single into left field and knocked in Waskowitz to tie the game at 3-3.
Casey Jackson then crushed the ball over the Blue Devils' outfield and Burger scored all the way from first base to put the Cougars back on top at 4-3.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Coginchaug's Marissa Puchalski came to the plate against HK relief pitcher Ciara Samuels with two runners in scoring position and two outs. Puchalski hit a line drive to left field that scored Jackie Benson, but Shoreline Player of the Year Lauren Esposito was tagged out at home plate, denying the Blue Devils a seventh inning walkoff.
Drama unfolded for the last time in the bottom of the ninth inning when Coginchuaug's Courtney Votto and Dina Canalia got two base hits with no outs. Rather than pitch to Esposito, the Cougars loaded the bases for Kayla Votto.
This time, Votto made the Cougars pay.
The junior drilled a 1-1 pitch into centerfield and rounded first base as her younger sister crossed home plate. The Blue Devils then mobbed one another at home plate.
The Shoreline title is the second for Coginchaug under coach Ann Moscovics (2005). Esposito was also a member of the Shoreline champion girls soccer team and state champion girls basketball team.
Following Saturday's victory, the team was escorted through town by the Durham Volunteer Fire Department. The team will also celebrate the victory in Monday's Memorial Day Parade.
No. 2 seed Coginchaug will play the winner of No. 15 Kaynor Tech and No. 18 Holy Famiy on Wednesday in Durham in the Class S state tournament.
No. 13 HK will play No. 20 Tolland Tuesday in Higganum.