Rowan County Lady Vikings softball loses heartbreaker, 3-2, to Johnson Central in a tenth-inning tiebreaker.
“It was a great ball game to watch, great ball game to play in. You just hope that you have a kid that steps up and get the job done. We had our opportunity to win many times before we ever got to the tenth. They got a big hit in the tenth,” said Coach Larry Slone.
Lady Eagles pitcher Chloe Vanhoose proved to be too much to handle for the Lady Vikings. The sophomore pitcher not only threw 10 strikeout but hit a game-winning single in the tenth inning driving home two runners for the win.
“Excellent game. She has been pitching well for us lately. She has had some big wins. She pitched last week against Pikeville. She threw a no hitter and 15 strikeouts and had another big win against Raceland this past weekend. And obviously this game here tonight,” said Johnson Central coach Phillip Estep.
The game was uneventful through seven innings. Regulation ended with the score knotted at zero.
Only three hits were made during seven innings, one by the Lady Vikings and two by the Lady Eagles. The Lady Eagles’ Alyssa Hendrick singled first in the fourth inning, Vanhoose single in the top of the sixth and the Lady Vikings’ senior Emily Hammonds singled to centerfield in the bottom of the inning.
It might have been the 50 degree weather but the bats finally heated up in the ninth inning.
Johnson Central’s Claire Gamble singled to start the extra innings but was unable to reach home.
Lexi Morris and Elaina Ward both singled in bottom of the eighth on two outs. However, Morris was stopped en route when Bailey Trent ground into a fielder’s choice at shortstop.
Hendricks started the ninth inning with a single. She was batted in by Abby Fannin’s line drive to centerfield.
Ward, the Lady Vikings catcher, proved invaluable during the extra innings when she caught Fannin stealing third for the second out of the ninth. She also tagged out Jadrien Morrow advancing home to prevent a run in the tenth.
“It was just being part of my team and trying to step up for them, making a play. It felt good,” said Ward.
Ward moved from playing first base to full time catcher this season and the decision seems to have been the right choice.
“I wanted to step up, be a team leader and throw everybody out. I am a catcher at heart. I love being there and being there for my team,” said Ward.
Ward was happy to receive the chance to lead the Lady Vikings from behind the plate her senior year.
With two outs to start the inning, the Lady Eagles could have ended the game in ninth. However, three errors allowed Hailey Rose to reach home.
“At the end of the day, they are kids. Kids are going to make mistakes. Obviously, it was a crucial point in the game, so we were proud of them for not letting it be the end of the game. They kept fighting and did what they had to to get out of that inning,” said Estep.
The Lady Eagles owed a big thanks to Vanhoose as Macy Jones attempted to drive one into the out field by hitting a hard ball past Vanhoose in the circle. Vanhoose snagged the line drive for a third out.
“I don’t know if that was good or just luck right there, but that was obviously a run saving catch,” said Estep.
It came down to the tenth inning when runners were placed on second. Johnson Central was able to score two runs on Vanhoose’s single.
Ward’s double to centerfield highlighted the tenth inning for the Lady Vikings.