The last three outs may be the hardest to get. For the Lady Bulldogs Tuesday night, they saw their three-run lead against West Union disappear with one out remaining for the win, as the Lady Eagles edged NAHS in the 5-4 thriller.
“In that last inning, they got the big hits when they needed them,” NAHS head coach Michael Kelly said. “We played with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of intensity with a good defensive ball game. We jumped out early on them, and we’ve got to work on finding our bats late in the game.”
Kelly watched his squad build an early 3-0 lead after the first, as a fly out to right field by Amber Mirfield plated Kelsey Hodges, who reached on a leadoff single. Ellen Tarrent’s intentional walk placed runners on first and second, and a single by Shannon Goode loaded the bases for freshman Kayla Pavlick, whose RBI single scored two.
New Albany added another run in the third, as Goode’s second single of the game plated Brooke Sides, giving the Lady ‘Dawgs the 4-0 edge.
West Union only had one hit entering the bottom half of the third and scored their first run, as an out at first brought Carley Wilkerson home from third.
New Albany played tough defense, holding West Union to only two more hits before the bottom of the seventh. Claire Wilkerson opened with a leadoff single, and an error placed Robyn Taylor on base. A fielder’s choice gave the Lady Eagles their first out, and they tightened the lead after an RBI single by April Rollins made the score 4-2.
A fly out to Jalanna Cameron at first put West Union in a tough position, as they were down to their final out with runners on first and second. Julianna Garner’s single loaded the bases, and Carley Wilkerson hit the game-winning double, scoring three runs to give the Lady Eagles the win.
It was a huge hit. New Albany came out and did things right,” West Union head coach Andy Kirk said. “Sometimes those last three outs are the hardest to get. We probably didn’t deserve to win the game, as we were outplayed. Carley burning an outfielder is huge. She’s a battler, and if there’s anyone we want to have up there in a crucial situation, it’s Carley because she’s just going to do her thing.”
Goode was the only player for either team with multiple hits, as she had two singles. Kimberly Jumper had a triple in the third, but Hodges held West Union to only four hits before the final inning thanks to an impressive pitching performance. Kelly credits the strength and experience of West Union and hopes his team can turn the table in next week’s Union County Tournament.
“West Union is a great team. They have several seniors starting for them, so they’re experienced and know what’s going on. Anytime we have the opportunity to play them, we love to, and maybe when we play in the county tournament, fortunes will be reversed,” Kelly said.