South Charleston's Alli Burdette and Logan's Morgan Aguirre are no strangers to pitchers' duels and Wednesday night's 1-0 South Charleston victory in the Class AAA Region 3 Section 3 tournament was no exception.
"These kind of games are just fun to be a part of," said Black Eagles coach Bobby Catlett. "We knew coming in that it was going to be a pitchers' duel and neither of the ladies disappointed."
The elation didn't last long for SC, however, as Aguirre and Logan turned the tables in the second game, earning an 11-2 victory and forcing a third and decisive game at 6 p.m. today in the double-elimination event at SC. Aguirre fired a three-hitter in the nightcap.
In the first game, both hurlers pitched exceptionally well, keeping the opposing hitters guessing. However the Black Eagles' Burdette, who finished with 18 strikeouts, wound up the victor thanks to a walk-off single from freshman Aaliyah Phillips in the bottom of the seventh.
The decisive inning started with Burdette collecting her second single. A perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Meredith Cain moved courtesy runner Kaylee Stanley to second.
After an Aguirre punchout for the second out, Phillips had a clutch two-out, two-strike single that just fell off the glove of the Wildcats' second baseman and allowed Stanley to score the winning run.
"Phillips got two strikes on her right away and battled. She put the ball in play and got the winning run in," said Catlett.
While only the one run was scored, both teams had opportunities to score in the later innings.
After cruising through the first three innings with nine strikeouts, Burdette allowed runners to reach base in all the remaining innings. Logan's best chance to score off the junior came in the fifth when the first two batters reached, but Burdette responded to get the next three hitters in order, including two strikeouts. She finished with a two-hitter.
"We worked out of some jams. That's what makes you a team, when you stand strong and respond," Catlett said.
Aguirre was up to the task of matching Burdette and faced the minimum in four of seven innings. She finished with 12 strikeouts and allowed just three hits and one walk. Rachelle Toppings and Taylor Norman each had one hit for the Wildcats.
In the second game, SC's Burdette fell behind 7-0 after four innings and was replaced by Lauren Bare. Toppings, Norman and Katie Chryssofos each had two hits for the Wildcats. Katie Parks was 2-for-3 for the Black Eagles.
Chryssofos went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs for the Wildcats. Norman, who picked up the win, went 2-for-3 and drove in a run. For the Patriots, Bailey Rabel doubled and drove in a run.