Grooms delivers the game-winner
By Mark Carpenter – People’s Defender
Though it has been a struggle for wins in the 2016 campaign, the West Union Lady Dragons softball squad gave their fans a night to remember on April 19 as they played host to the Ripley Lady Jays and came from behind in exciting fashion to pull out an 11-10 walk-off win, the winning run coming across on a two-bagger by Kristen Grooms in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Besides her heroics at the plate, Grooms also went all the way on the mound for the win, with the loss being hung on Ripley’s Meggie Scott.
The Lady Jays (0-8) were still looking for their first win of 2016 and they came out on fire, scoring four in the first and two more in the second to grab a 6-0 advantage. West Union began their uphill climb back into the game with four runs in the bottom of the second and did so without the benefit of a hit, as Ripley starter Tommi Wright walked Savannah Holbrook, Kelsey Young, and Summer Grooms to load the bases. The first run scored when Autumn Dozier was hit by a pitch, then both Young and Dozier raced home on wild pitches, and a ground out by Kaylee Welch brought home Grooms with the frame’s fourth run.
In the bottom of the third, the Lady Dragons tied the game, taking advantage of a pair of Ripley fielding miscues. After neither team scored in the fourth, the Lady Jays jumped back in front in the top of the fifth with three runs and West Union stayed close with one in their half of the inning. A run-scoring hit by Scott put the visitors back up by three, but just as quickly, the Lady Dragons tied the game at 10, getting three runners across, all scoring on wild pitches by Scott. That set up the deciding seventh inning as Grooms set down the Jays in the top half.
In the bottom of the seventh, West Union’s Mikayla Akers led off with a walk, bringing Grooms to the plate. The senior pitcher sent all the West Union fans home with a smile on their faces, as she smacked a drive down the left field line on the first pitch to send Akers all the way around and give the home team the thrilling 11-10 victory.
“We started out down 6-0 and we were struggling a little bit,” said West Union head coach Tom Fowler. “It was just back and forth all day. We got the three runs on wild pitches to tie the game at 10 and I told them to just get three outs in the top of the seventh and one run in the bottom half is all I want.”
“It was an awesome ending. Our girls deserved this win so much, they fought so hard and battled back. Their second pitcher had trouble finding the strike zone and we took advantage of that.”
The win was the second of the season for West Union (2-9) and they were set to be back in action the very next day, hosting the Eastern Lady Warriors on Wednesday afternoon and then coming right back and traveling to Eastern Brown on Thursday.
RHS 420 031 0 —10
WUHS 042 013 1 —11