SARDIS – Shadyside has finally strung together back-to-back victories in the early portion of the high school softball season. However, it had to withstand a gutsy effort from host River.
Cruising along with a 14-2 lead entering the bottom of the fifth inning Monday after erupting for seven runs in the top of the frame, the Lady Tigers (3-2) needed just three outs to institute the mercy-rule, but the Pilots (2-3) had other ideas as they pushed seven runs across the plate to extend the game. They pulled to within 14-11 in the sixth, but got no closer as Taylor Fulton closed the door in relief.
Shadyside scored twice in the top of the seventh en route to a 16-11 marathon road triumph, something that had first-year head coach Robert Gorrell Jr. with mixed emotions.
“Sometimes you need a game like this to see what kind of team you are,” Gorrell Jr. said. “You need to see if you can bounce back from adversity, and I’m proud of the way we did today.
Junior Gentry Brown was a thorn in the Pilots side as she doubled off the top of the fence in left-center in her first at bat. She crushed a solo home run in the fourth before adding a three-run blast to deep right-center an inning later.
“Gentry has some power,” Gorrell said. “When she gets a hold of it, it’s going to go.”
Brown has four roundtrippers in five games.
The Lady Tigers banged out 18 hits, with Macy Hendershot collecting a trio of singles and a double that drove in a run. Mady Violet and Abby Gorrell evenly divided half-a-dozen safeties as Violet knocked in three runs with a pair of singles and a triple. Gorrell had three one-base raps. Bella Honeywell, winning pitcher Arianna Saxton and Rylie Fulton all had two singles, with Honeywell and Saxton recording an RBI each.
“We can hit the ball up and down our order,” Gorrell Jr. said of the 18 hits.
Saxton earned the win with seven strikeouts and four walks in four-plus innings. Taylor Fulton fanned four in relief, including two in the seventh, to notch the save.
“I think Arianna might have gotten a little tired,” Gorrell Jr. said of his freshman’s first varsity start. “She did a good job, but she has got to learn to finish.”
River, which trailed 6-0 after one inning and 14-2 following a seven-run top of the fifth by the Tigers, didn’t go down without a fight, something the pleased veteran head coach Dave Wright.
“I give the girls credit for battling and not giving up. They showed a lot of enthusiasm, but I didn’t like the six-run first inning.”
Rylee Knight chased in three runs for the Pilots with an RBI single and a mammoth two-run homer in the sixth that cut the deficit to 14-11.
Josie Reed singled, doubled and had an RBI, as did Raylee Schmidt. Emily Smith had a two-run single in the seven-run bottom of the fifth. Hannah Raper had a run-scoring single.