Gryphons garner walk-off win without a hit
There is an old adage on the baseball or softball diamond that says, “A walk’s as good as a hit.”
The Thomas Jefferson softball team, proved the truth of those words Monday as they scored three times in the bottom of the seventh without the benefit of a hit to walk off with a 4-3 win over Pine Lake Prep.
Pine Lake pitcher Kelly Lux began the fateful frame, leading 3-0, with 10 straight pitches without a strike, eventually loading the bases with no outs.
After an error made the score 3-2, freshmen Emily Allred and Taylor Hardin delivered the game tying and winning runs on sacrifice flies.
“We said before the inning that we were going to make her (Lux) throw strikes and she never did until it was too late,” said TJCA head coach Jamie Hicks. “I’m really proud of the team for showing patience and then for the freshmen, driving in those runs was big.”
The Lady Gryphons’ rally made a winner of Brianna Kale, who continued her stellar sophomore season in the circle, striking out 13 batters in the complete game effort. The comeback also secured a win for seniors Isis Wilson, Brooke Greene, and Ayumi Deyton in their final regular season home game.
“The seniors are the backbone of this team,” Hicks said. “They stuck around for four years and all the bad times. Now things are starting to turn around and they are a big part of it.”
Pine Lake jumped on the board early. Leadoff batter Ali Glazier walked and scored on a hit by Lux. Kale settled down in the second, striking out the side on just 11 pitches. Lux matched her pitch for pitch, however as the teams only had one hit apiece through three innings.
TJCA (7-9, 3-8 SPC) ran into trouble in the fourth, though. Karolyne Hill singled to lead off the frame and Megan Morefield was hit by pitch. Hill stole third and came home on a wild pitch as the visitors led 2-0.
Taylor Hardin drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half, but was stranded at second to keep the Gryphons off the scoreboard.
Lux helped herself at the plate in the Pride’s next at bat. Her RBI triple made the tally 3-0 as Kelsey Colton leapt over Hardin’s tag attempt at the plate.
The Gryphons had another scoring opportunity in the fifth after Lauren Brown reached base on a two-base error. Victoria Rivera walked and Ayumi Deyton was hit by pitch to load the bases with one out. Emily Allred followed with a RBI groundout to cut the deficit to 3-1.
After a quiet sixth inning, TJCA threatened in their final at bat. Brown and Brooke Greene walked on eight straight balls. Ball 10 hit Rivera to load the bases with no outs. Deyton reached on an error to score Brown to cut the deficit to 3-2 Allred followed with a sacrifice fly, setting up Hardin’s game winner.
The victory sets up a winner-take-all contest with Community School of Davidson today for the fourth playoff spot out of the SPC.
“I think we are in either way, but we want to win tomorrow and get in for sure and not have to hope for a wild card,” Hicks said.