Lady Bulldogs rally to take walk-off win from Lady Bucs

Published 2:44 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2024

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By Ron Marvel

Star Correspondent

Head Lady Bulldogs Coach Allison Riddle has had the fortune to play on some very good teams during her playing days including being a big part of a couple of EHS teams that made deep runs come tournament time; so she understands what is needed to produce wins on the diamond. Although the Lady Bulldogs haven’t hit that post-season mark quite yet one thing they are doing is playing hard night in and night out. Monday night served as a reminder of how that type of effort is paying off for them as they were able to get a big win over University High 10-9 rallying in the final frame for the walk-off win. This comes after a similar type of win against Happy Valley over the weekend at Winged Deer Park in the East Tennessee Classic.

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The game was a bit of a struggle in the first few innings as the Lady Bucs were able to jump up early 2-0 after a Kathryn Joiner home run to left-center. It would have been a bigger deficit than that if right-fielder Dru Nickles had not plucked a line drive out of the air with runners at first and third that had extra-base hit written all over it. The Lady Bulldogs had to start wondering if it was going to be their night when they loaded the bases in the bottom of the second inning with just one out when Maleah Scalf would hit a line drive up the middle and into the waiting glove of the Lady Bucs second basemen who would then take three steps to the bag for the double play to end the threat. The Lady Bulldogs who outhit their opponents 17-8 threatened once again in the bottom of the third with runners at second and third but Mallory Lamb would get called out attempting to steal home on a passed ball.

The Lady Bulldogs perseverance would pay off in the fourth inning as they would play small ball to put pressure on the Lady Bucs defense to bring home Bella Setlock and MacKenzie Thompson. Mallory Lamb would then pick up a single to center field and the Lady Bulldogs would jump out front 4-2. The Lady Bucs would rally in the form of a bases-loaded triple in the top of the 5th off the bat of Avery Nelson to retake a 5-4 lead. The Lady Bulldogs would respond in their half of the frame as Lacey Smith would reach on an error and Nickles would rope a double to left, both of them would be plated as Thompson would then get a base hit off a hard ground ball that just stayed fair up the third base line making the score 6-5 advantage Bulldogs.

The see-saw play continued in the sixth, as the Lady Bucs used a couple of Lady Bulldog errors to go back up 8-6. Hampton cut the lead to 8-7 after a Smith double scored Lamb to set up the final frame.

 UH would get another run in the bottom of the seventh to make it 9-7 setting up the Lady Bulldogs rally. Brooklyn Adams and Hannah Smith would get things going with back-to-back singles after Maleah Scalf hit into a fielder’s choice and Briley Davis would hit a blooper to center plating Smith. Lamb would hit a sac-fly to center to tie things up at nine all. Lillian Andrews who was pinch-running for Davis would then scamper home on a passed ball to give the Lady Bulldogs a 10-9 win. Adams, Nickles, Lamb and Smith each collected three hits in the game. Briley Davis picked up the win for the Lady Bulldogs off the mound. The Lady Bulldogs would run wild on the base-paths picking up 15 steals in the contest.

Post game, Coach Riddle credited her team for the heart they showed in the win: “Having confidence in the box with smart base-running gets us to where we need to be; we are doing better adjusting and noticing things in the game. We are really working on staying relaxed and not stressing when things aren’t going our way” Riddle shared. The Lady Bulldogs will travel to Happy Valley Thursday night.