Cardiac Trojans win a thriller
With little regard to the dropping temperatures, Chase and R-S Central softball played an 11-inning classic Tuesday night in Henrietta.
After nearly three hours of play, Chase's Ashley Brown decided it was time to go home when she knocked in Haley Wood with an RBI single to center field giving the Lady Trojans a 6-5 walk-off win.
"We always seem to have those extra-inning games against Central," Chase head coach Daniel Bailey said in reference to an 18-inning game the teams played three seasons ago. "It's always a great game to be a part of."
"It's a lot of fun and a lot of emotions," R-S Central head coach Melvin Digh said. "Unfortunately we didn't come out on top."
For the first six innings, it was the Dakota Reid show.
Reid gave up hits to the first two Hilltopper batters of the game, but allowed just two other girls in royal blue on the bases for the remainder of the first six innings. She also blasted a solo homer in the third inning to give the Lady Trojans a 2-0 lead.
However, R-S Central made its run when it needed to the most. With two outs and runner on second in the tip of the seventh, the Hilltoppers rattled of four-straight base hits to take a 3-2 lead.
Sierra Downey started the rally with a pinch-hit single and Katie McEntire followed with single to score Taylor Beam and cut the Chase lead to 2-1. Then Taylor Koon singled to load the bases before Makayla Crain brought in the tying and go-ahead runs with a base hit to right field.
"We felt comfortable going into the seventh, but once they got to the top of the lineup they did what it took and went ahead," Bailey said. "None of Coach Digh's teams will ever give up. It doesn't matter if they're down by one run or 10 runs, they're going to finish the game."
"I was proud of the way they fought and kept battling," Digh said.
Koon was caught trying to score on a wild pitch giving Chase an opportunity to tie the game in the bottom half of the frame.
Chase (3-1, 3-1 SMAC) started the inning well with a single from Erika Dover and a walk from Haley Wood to put two runners on with no outs, but R-S Central's Brooke Moore turned a 6-3 double play on a Becca Hopkins grounder to dim the threat.
Kayla Crowe was the next batter, and after a slow roller to Beam at second base, it looked like the Hilltoppers (2-3, 2-2 SMAC) had the come-from-behind victory in hand, but Central first baseman Kyonna McEntyre dropped the throw from Beam allowing the tying run to score from third.
"When they went up 3-2 I felt our girls didn't panic and just knew what they needed to do," Bailey said.
Central came back in the eighth inning and took advantage of a passed ball and a wild pitch from Reid to score two runs in the inning despite getting just one hit.
Not to be outdone, Brown and Reid led off the bottom half of the ninth with a walk and a double to put Maggie Robbins at the plate with a chance to tie the game. Robbins did just that with a double to left that scored both Brown and Reid.
Crain worked out of the jam on the mound and neither team seriously threatened in the ninth or 10th innings as both Reid and Crain continued to battle on the mound.
Chase mounted its final surge in the 11th starting with back-to-back singles from Wood and Hopkins. A sacrifice bunt by Kayla Crowe moved the runners to second and third with just one out.
With the infield in, Courtney Wantuch drew a walk to load the bases before Brown came to the dish a laced a sharp grounder through the infield to score Wood and send the Trojans fans that braved the cold weather home with a 6-5 win.
"There were missed opportunities for both teams to win this game a lot earlier," Bailey said. "I think we faced just about every situation you can face in one game. It's one of those things where being able to make a few different plays throughout the game may have been the difference."
Hopkins led Chase with four hits while Reid and Robbins each had three and Devyn Gowan added two.
R-S Central was led by McEntire with three hits while Koon, Crain and Crawford each finished with a pair of hits apiece.
Reid earned the win on the mound pitching all 11 innings and striking out 10 while Crain was tabbed with a tough loss after pitching 11 innings and striking out five batters.
"Hats off to both pitchers," Bailey said "Last year really adapted Dakota [Reid] to carrying the entire load on her shoulders. She has a pretty good tendency to reach deep down and find it inside of her in the latter innings."
"I thought Crain threw the ball really well," Digh said. "We can't ask much more of her after throwing 11 innings."
Chase 6, R-S Central 5
RSC^000^000^320^00 — 5
CHS^101^000^120^01 — 6
WP: Dakota Reid
LP: Makayla Crain