A dark and dreary Saturday afternoon made for one heck of a softball game.
After tying the game at eight runs apiece in the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Vikings could not halt a spurt of runs by visiting East Carter in the eighth, falling at home to the Lady Raiders, 12-8.
East’s girls jumped out to an early 5-0 lead by the time two and a half innings had passed.
A showing of determination by Rowan County helped the home team to climb back into the game, with a line of singles to go along with a triple by Allie Banks to start the bottom of the third.
Sophomore Becca Duff took care of business when she brought home Sabrina Stewart and Banks on a line drive double to left field.
After it held East to no runs in the fourth, the offensive burst by the Lady Vikings continued in the bottom half of the inning, by way of an RBI double by Stewart to bring home teammate Autumn Meade.
Rowan County Head Coach Larry Slone commented on his team’s resiliency after the loss.
“We dug ourselves a hole early on, but we continued to battle,” Slone said. “I’m proud of the fact that we didn’t give up after they jumped out to such an early lead. But we just can’t continue to fall behind and attempt to climb back in the game, we’re just going to learn to put together a complete game.”
Solid fielding remained consistent for Slone’s team, as it closed out the top of the fifth strong by converting on three straight pop fly outs to bring another Rowan batting cycle.
Tessa Jennings started things off strong in the bottom of the inning, picking up a big single to maintain momentum for the Lady Vikings. An infield out by Colleen Helvey brought home teammate Sara Hallock to tie the game at five apiece.
Hopes of a comeback turned into a lead the following play, when Bailey Garvin ripped an RBI double to give Rowan a 6-5 advantage, followed up with a an error by East. This resulted in a walk across home plate for Garvin, building a two-run lead for the girls in green.
With a strong presence in this game, as well as several other games this season, Slone said he has been pleased with his team’s offensive prowess.
“As a coach, I feel like we have batted pretty well this season,” Slone said. “We hit the ball strong tonight, and we have for most of the season. Our problems are not in the batter’s box, but in other areas of the game.”
A two-run lead of 7-5 did not last for long, as the Lady Raiders converted on several critical Lady Vikings’ errors, to score three runs in the final its final two frames at bats.
Determined not to let this one slip away, Rowan returned the favor when Meade crossed home plate on an awry throw to second by East to make way for the first extra inning of the season for the Lady Vikings.
Despite all the heroics, East’s girls responded, sending several pitches on a journey to deep left field, including a near home run by pitcher Tori Qualls.
Unable to score in the final inning, Duff and Stewart were left stranded on base following two solid plays on the ball by the Lady Raiders, resulting in the fifth loss on the season for Rowan County.
Slone said his team’s mistakes at critical junctions of the game have played a very big part of the Lady Vikings losses on the year.
“It seems like when we are able to take a lead like we did here today, and like we did at Mason the other night, we just these mistakes that kill us,” Slone said. “These are all things that we can fix, things we are going to work on persistently during practices.”
Rowan County continued its schedule last night after press time with a matchup against Fairview.
There will be more on this game in Friday’s edition of The Morehead News.
Grant Stevens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 784-4116.