SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hurricane's bats and dugout had been silenced for five straight innings Friday evening, but Nicole Pierson woke up her teammates in a big way.
The senior center fielder lined a two-out, two-run single to right field to give the Redskins the lead for good in their final at-bat in taking a 5-4 decision over South Charleston. A crowd of about 150 attended the matchup of Class AAA state-ranked teams at South Charleston High School.
"Oh, it's huge for us,'' said Pierson of the victory, which kept the Redskins undefeated at 5-0. "This is the best team we've played so far. I think we can do big things off this win. We came out and really wanted to win. We realized we were kind of down and we needed to get up and start cheering. We didn't want to lose. We had a drive to win.''
Hurricane, which was second in the state coaches association preseason poll, trailed 2-1 entering the top of the seventh before rallying past No. 9 SC (3-2). Redskins junior left fielder Addie Fullen led off the frame by reaching first base after getting hit by a pitch, then senior catcher Linzie Reynolds followed with a double to put runners at second and third with none out.
After a strikeout, senior Haley Byrd, who was pinch-running for Fullen after she was hit in the side of the knee, scored to knot the game at 2-all after SC freshman catcher Kaitlyn Snowden failed to hold on to strike three and the ball bounced away from home plate.
SC senior pitcher Alli Burdette fanned No. 9 hitter Amber Null and intentionally walked sophomore Madison Casto, the leadoff hitter, to load the bases with two outs. Casto was already 2 for 3 with a double.
That brought up Pierson, who whiffed in her first two at-bats then was hit by a pitch in her third plate appearance. Pierson ran the count to 1-2 before lining the fourth pitch in front of Black Eagles right fielder Jasmine Martin, driving in two runs to put Hurricane in front to stay 4-2.
"I knew we really needed those runs,'' Pierson said. "I had to concentrate, keep my eye on the ball and just throw my hands through it and hit it.''