AREA SOFTBALL: Late Push Lifts Wall Past Grape Creek in Thriller
GRAPE CREEK, TX -- After trailing 5-2 going into the third inning, the Wall Lady Hawks clawed back to down the Grape Creek Lady Eagles 10-7 on Thursday. It's Wall's second straight district win after opening 0-2 in District 4-3A.
"It just shows tremendous heart and true grit," head coach Steve Bain said of the win's significance. "They've been working so hard the past two or three weeks to make a little push and just trying to get better. That's what we do, try to get better."
Grape Creek took the lead in that inning thanks to a two-run single from Taigan Rivers. Caroline Fowler padded the lead with an RBI single. Fowler would eventually come around to score on an error.
Wall would tie the game the very next inning after an error plated two runs. That came after Taylor Hunt drove in a run on a double up the third base line. Hunt finished the day 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored to lead the way for Wall.
Wall then took the lead with a three-run sixth inning, highlighted by the go-ahead two-run double from Hunt.
Wall and junior pitcher Izzy Vera settled down after the second inning, as the righty hurler then struck out two of the next four batters to close out the inning. After all was said and done, the Lady Hawks stranded 11 Lady Eagle baserunners and allowed just two runs over the next five innings.
Vera pitched all seven innings, allowing seven runs on 10 hits with seven strikeouts and just three walks to get the win.
That's back-to-back winning decisions for Vera, who has settled down in the circle since the return of senior starting catcher Payton Box from basketball.
"I think one of the biggest things that's been helping her is having Payton back," Bain said. "Having Payton back, she's such an awesome leader and she understands how both Taylor [Hunt] and Izzy pitch. She knows what to look for and when to throw it. I think she's made a huge difference coming back from basketball."
The other difference-maker for the Lady Hawks has been having senior Ashlynn Box back in the lineup. The Angelo State signee went 3-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored and an RBI in her second game back from injury. That extends her mind-boggling on-base streak to 41 games and her hit streak to 15.
Box also played the seventh inning at second base, her first defensive outing since officially returning to play.
"I'm happy for her. She loves the game. This is her sport," Bain commended. "She's been waiting and being patient about it. Knowing she got to play a little bit of defense today was emotional for everybody. She's been working so hard to get back and being patient. It meant a lot for the whole team to have her in the field."
Payton Box also had a multi-hit game for the Lady Hawks, going 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored.
Taigan Rivers had the best day offensively for Grape Creek after going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
Morgan Fowler looked to give the Lady Eagles life in the bottom of the sixth inning when she sent a solo home run over the center field fence to cut the deficit to 8-7. She would finish the day 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Fowler also picked up the losing decision after seven innings of yeoman's work where she allowed 10 runs on 12 hits with four strikeouts.
Grape Creek (3-5, 2-2) will travel to TLCA on Tuesday. Wall (4-16, 2-2) hosts district front-runner Ballinger on Tuesday.
Lead Slips from Lady Cats in Extras Against Fort Worth Richland
The Central Lady Cats couldn't hang on to a late two-run lead in an 8-5 loss to Fort Worth Richland in extra innings on Thursday.
The game was originally scheduled for Monday, but two postponements pushed the game back to Thursday.
Sophomore Ashton McMillan gave the Lady Cats their first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning on a three-run home run to put Central up 4-3. Rylee Dehn then drove in Alba Rangel on a single to push Central's lead to two runs.
McMillan finished 1-for-4 at the plate with a run scored and three RBIs. Dehn was 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs.
Bailey Fulps took the loss despite going eight innings where she allowed eight runs on 10 hits with 10 strikeouts.
Central (7-10-1, 1-3) will host Hurst Bell on Tuesday looking to break their three-game skid.