Hoover slips past Sissonville 2-1
FALLING ROCK, W.Va. -- After six innings, Sissonville had Herbert Hoover backed in the corner, ready to deliver the final blow.
Just when it seemed as if the Indians would walk away with a win, Hoover countered with a couple of hits, reversed the course and delivered a knockout of its own.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning with one out, Zoey Carte drove in the tying run on an RBI single. On the next at bat, Amber Oaks rocketed the ball up the right side of the field to bring in the winning run as Class AA No. 1 Hoover defeated visiting Sissonville 2-1 Wednesday afternoon.
"I knew I had to make contact on the ball for us to have a chance," Carte said. "I knew we really needed that hit and everything else would come into play."
Carte was dead on with her prediction. On the next at bat, Oaks brought in the winning run on her single.
"We had a slow start in the beginning," Oaks said. "We started getting hits, and then we knew we had a chance. We just stepped it up a bit."
Carte also had a single in the fifth to finish 2 for 3.
Prior to the seventh, Hoover managed just two hits. After Allison Rager opened the bottom of the seventh with a groundout, it seemed as though the offensive drought would continue for Hoover (11-2). But the Huskies' bats begin to catch fire on singles by McKenzie Edmonds and Ashleigh Tignor, followed by the RBI singles from Carte and Oaks.
The Huskies finished with six hits - four coming in the final inning.
"Offensively, [Bekah] Baldwin kept us off balance all night," said Hoover coach Missy Smith. "She has a nice changeup and drop ball. We were chasing pitches. I kept telling them to be patient. We finally got a couple of hits together and got lucky enough to win. It's a big win for us. They are a good team."
For most of the game, Baldwin kept the Huskies' batters at bay. In the fourth inning, Baldwin got herself in a jam after she hit Caroline Thornburg with a pitch and walked Damia Mogielski. But she was able to escape the inning with the aid of third baseman Alexee Haynes and first baseman Abbey Jordan on a double play.
Baldwin finished the game with four strikeouts.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the fourth on an RBI single by Jordan, Sissonville (10-11) appeared ready to blow the game open, loading the bases with one out in the sixth after Haynes' second double of the night, a Baldwin walk, and an error by Hoover. But the Huskies were able to escape the jam with no harm.
Plays such as those in the sixth gave Smith the confidence that her team - which has won 10 of its last 11 games - was going to play until the final at-bat.
"Everyone does their piece of the puzzle and their job," Smith said. "When you play hard for each other, it takes the pressure off one single person. They never lose faith in each other or the team. They are pretty tight group, which makes it easy to play well. You aren't just playing for you. You are playing for your sister right next to you."
Haynes went 2 for 3 with two doubles for the Indians.
"Here lately, it has either been the first or seventh inning where we shut down," said Indians coach Niki Gross. "It's frustrating because we play so hard and fight so hard for wins like this. We came here ready to play ball and it was taken from us here in the seventh inning late."
But Gross and her squad aren't ready to throw in the towel, especially after two close matchups against the Huskies. The Indians lost to the Huskies 3-2 last week on another run in the bottom of the seventh.
"I'm absolutely proud of these girls," Gross said. "They fought hard and gave everything they had. Now is the time to get better. I tell the girls all the time that these games are practice for when it really matters come sectional time."