Carroll County’s incredible defensive effort went for naught Thursday as Floyd County rallied for six runs in the seventh inning to beat the Cavs 6-4 in Hillsville.
Time and time again, Carroll County (6-3, 3-2 River Ridge) kept the Buffaloes off the scoreboard with their amazing glovework. But Floyd County (6-3) showed why it is a defending state champion, stringing together five consecutive hits, including a pair of home runs, in the dramatic seventh inning.
Things looked good for the Cavaliers as leadoff batter Holly Britt grounded out to second to start the seventh. And Floyd’s improbable comeback started innocently enough when number nine hitter Mary Phillips reached base on a weak infield single. But Phillips’ base knock seemed to provide just the spark the Buffs needed.
Amanda Whitlock followed with a single to left before Ashley Gallimore ripped a double to left center to score Phillips, trimming Carroll’s lead to 4-1. And then everything changed in the blink of an eye as Aimee Royal crushed the first pitch she saw out of the deepest part of the park in center field to tie the game at 4-all.
With momentum now fully on Floyd’s side, Riley Underwood followed by smashing a 3-1 offering to almost the same spot as Royal’s home run for a 5-4 lead. Christine Phillips then grounded out to stop the bleeding momentarily before Kristen Mills singled and scored on Holly Britt’s RBI double.
Gallimore, who pitched three scoreless innings of relief for Floyd, set Carroll down in order in the bottom of the seventh to complete the dramatic victory.
“Floyd earned every run they got in the seventh inning. We shut them down until them. They were down 4-0 and they didn’t quit. Good teams are not going to quit,” Carroll County head softball coach Rick Nester said. “We have talked about it to the girls, you have to play seven innings. We were in same situation with Grayson the day before that (in a 4-3 Carroll victory). Yesterday was Floyd’s turn. I told them after the game I was pleased with the effort and how they played, it just happens at times. Floyd got hot. That is a good team, defending state champions with all the girls back but one or two. They are one of the top teams we are going to play this year.”
For Carroll, the seventh inning marred an amazing defensive performance. The Cavs got out of a big jam in the second when the Buffs had runners on second and third with just one out. Pitcher Gracie Davidson fanned Britt for the second out. Mary Phillips then laid down a perfect suicide squeeze that should have went for a base hit. Catcher Gracie Lindsey faked the throw to first, however, catching Kristen Mills off-guard and tagging her at home for the third out.
Floyd had runners at first and second in the third inning with nobody out when Royal ripped a hard single to center. Baserunner Amanda Whitlow hesitated between third base and home. Her coach sent her before stopping Whitlow. The throw came in to Lindsey at home, who was able to throw Whitlow out at third for the first out. Carroll went on to get out of the inning unscathed once again.
The Cavs got out of another jam in the sixth as Phillips got caught in a rundown between second and third bases. Freshman third baseman Kendall Hiatt also made several big defensive stops for the Cavaliers.
“I told the girls after the game that defensively that is one of the best games I have seen played in high school. They made several plays early that kept them from scoring,” Nester said. “The umpire was talking about defensively how good of a game they played. It’s tough to play that great and come up short, but it’s one of the best defensive games I have seen played in high school.”
Carroll finally broke open a scoreless game with four runs in the bottom of the fourth. Lindsey led the inning off with a single off the fence in center field. Cheyenne Strickland then reached on a fielder’s choice and moved up on Tiffanie Moore’s single. Strickland scored on Davidson’s RBI double to center before Moore scored on a passed ball for a 2-0 lead. Eustacia Smith then reached on a bunt single and Hannah Dalton walked to load the bases before Hiatt made it 4-0 with a two-run single through the infield for a 4-0 Carroll advantage.
The Cavs were only able to muster three hits the rest of the game, however. Davidson went 2-2 with a run and an RBI to lead Carroll, while Lindsey went 2-for-4. Hiatt went 1-for-3 with 2 RBIs for the Cavs.
Royal went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer, a double and three RBIs to lead Floyd. Gallimore went 3-for-4 with a run and RBI for the Buffs.
“We will just keep on playing. We played well and lost to a good team,” Nester said. “Floyd just got hot at the right time. Sometimes if just falls that way for you.”
Floyd 000 000 6 - 6 14 0
Carroll 000 400 0 - 4 8 1
Phillips, Gallimore (5) and Whitlow (FC); Davidson, Durnil (7) and Lindsey (CC). WP – Gallimore. LP – Davidson. 2B – Pendleton, Gallimore, Royal, Britt (FC); Davidson (CC). HR – Royal, Underwood (FC).
Carroll Co. 4, Grayson Co. 3
Gracie Davidson providing the game-tying hit and pitched four innings of scoreless relief April 23 as Carroll rallied for a 4-3 nondistrict victory at Grayson County.
Things did not look good for the Cavaliers as they trailed 3-0 after four innings and only had three hits up to that point. But Carroll got all the runs it needed in a four-run fifth inning.
Eden Durnil led the inning off with a single. Gracie Lindsey and Cheyenne Strickland followed with singles to load the bases before Tiffanie Moore’s RBI single scored Durnil to put the Cavaliers on the board. Davidson then tied it with a two-run single to score Lindsey and Strickland. Kayla Walker’s infield groundout was enough to allow Moore to score the go-ahead run.
The Cavaliers, who finished with eight hits, didn’t get another base knock the rest of the game. It was enough for Davidson, who allowed one base runner after the fourth inning. The Carroll sophomore pitched four innings of scoreless relief, striking out two, while walking none and allowing just two hits. Davidson did give up a leadoff double to Chelsie Callahan in the bottom of the seventh before retiring the next three batters to earn the win.
Grayson County took a 1-0 lead in the third inning after Haley Lawrence reached on an error, moved up on a Callahan single, and scored on Brady Cassell’s RBI base hit. The Blue Devils added two more runs in the fourth as Grace Circle and Karly Morris sandwiched walks around a Rachel Burris single to load the bases. Nikki Lundy then walked with the bases loaded to score a run before Lawrence’s RBI single made it 3-0.
Durnil and Cheyenne Strickland each had two hits and scored a run to lead Carroll offensively. Davidson went 1-3 with 2 RBIs, while Walker and Moore each had a hit and an RBI. Lindsey went 1-for-4 and scored a run for the Cavs.
Carroll 000 040 0 - 4 8 1
Grayson 001 200 0 - 3 6 3
Durnil, Davidson (4) and Lindsey (CC); Callahan, Halsey (5) and Cassell (GC). WP – Davidson. LP – Halsey. 2B – Callahan (GC).