The freshman may have delivered her biggest argument yet for staying in the starting lineup Wednesday, delivering a bases-loaded walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth, giving Kennesaw Mountain a 5-4 victory over rival Allatoona.
Down 3-1 after the top of the third inning, the Lady Mustangs tied the contest at 3-all in the bottom half, then took the lead in the fourth on Kelli McGrail’s two-out single, which plated Becky Grannemann with the go-ahead run.
Allatoona knotted the score at 4-all in the sixth, but neither squad scored in the seventh, forcing the extra inning.
In the eighth, and with Darby Pinkard on second as Allatoona’s international tiebreaker runner, Kennesaw Mountain pitcher Kathryn Woody induced a groundout to third that held Pinkard at second. Woody then struck out the next two batters to keep the Lady Buccaneers off the board and give the Lady Mustangs a chance at the victory.
Brennan Phillips was placed on second as Kennesaw Mountain’s tiebreaker runner in the bottom of the eighth. After she moved to third on a passed ball, Allatoona coach Troy Pirkle elected to walk Boo Huddleston and Amber Johns to load the bases for Ramos.
Ramos, who was 1-for-3 in her previous at-bats, laced a single into right-center field to score Phillips with the winning run.
“Honestly, I was really scared walking up (to the plate),” Ramos said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I’m happy I got the hit. It feels crazy.
“There was a lot of pressure up there, but I thought about my last at-bat (a groundout) and where they pitched to me, and I got that pitch again and nailed it. I’m glad I could help the team.”
Kennesaw Mountain coach Lisa Chapman was impressed by her freshman.
“I moved Michy to catcher a few games back,” Chapman said. “She doesn’t play like a freshman. She has an air of confidence about her, and she came up big for us.”
McGrail finished 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored for Kennesaw Mountain. Madi Lewis was 1-for-4 with an RBI, and Woody batted 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI. Huddleston was 1-for-3 with a, RBI, while Johns and Grannemann each had a hit.
Allatoona took a 1-0 lead in the first, when Morgan Kazerooni’s RBI single scored Bailey Crawford.
Kennesaw Mountain answered in the bottom half when McGrail doubled and scored on Lewis’ single.
Three straight singles from Crawford, Lewis and Hailey Reagor in the third produced two more runs for a 3-1 Allatoona advantage.
But the Lady Mustangs responded again, as McGrail scored on Woody’s double, and Huddleston’s double brought home courtesy runner Phillips to knot the game at 3-all.
McGrail’s two-out single in the fourth scored Grannemann to put Kennesaw Mountain ahead 4-3.
Kazerooni led off the sixth with a single, and after back-to-back groundouts, courtesy runner Pinkard scored the tying run off Nicole Williams’ single, as the game went into the seventh.
Allatoona’s Melanie Maule reached first on an error to lead off the seventh, and moved to second on Lewis’ groundout. A diving grab at short and Maule’s tag on McGrail ended the threat, and Lady Buccaneers pitcher Makenzie Colwart induced three straight groundouts in the eighth to for force the extra inning.
“Allatoona’s a rival for us, so it’s good to get a win,” Chapman said. “Our defense was the difference (Wednesday). Kelli made the play of the game in the seventh, when she kept the ball in the infield and had the good sense to get the runner out.”
Woody gave up four earned runs on nine hits while striking out nine to get the victory.
Crawford batted 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Reagor and Kazerooni each went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Allatoona. Lewis was 1-for-3 with an RBI and run scored.
Colwart allowed five earned runs on 11 hits and struck out two.
“The bottom line is, Kennesaw Mountain executed better than us,” Allatoona coach Troy Pirkle said. “It seemed, every time we scored, they did, too. It’s Kennesaw Mountain, so we would have liked this one, but it’s a non-region game that will make us better.”