Harrison’s defense couldn’t get any double plays, and it committed four errors.
That proved to be the difference Tuesday as Hillgrove rallied from a 2-1 deficit to post a 5-3 nine-inning victory in a Region 4AAAAAA game at Clackum Field.
A two-out error in the sixth inning scored Hillgrove pinch-runner Madyson Gibbins from second, knotting the contest at 2-all.
With the international tie-breaker rule in effect, and a runner placed at second base, neither team could score in the eighth. Hillgrove (14-3, 4-0), however, scored three runs off two hits and two errors in the ninth.
The scoring began as Ambria Derry’s sacrifice bunt in the ninth pushed Maddie Garner, the runner placed on second, to third. Garner then scored on Ashley Allen’s single, and Hillgrove held a 3-2 margin.
Later in the inning came the first fateful error, when the Harrison catcher dropped a relay at the plate during a double steal attempt, allowing Allen to score and giving the Lady Hawks a 4-2 lead. The second error, which also came with two outs, put Rachel Jarvis on first base. After a stolen base and a wild pitch, Jarvis came home on Kathryn Jackson’s two-out double, giving Hillgrove a 5-2 advantage.
Harrison’s Emily Kachel hit a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth to score Brooke Taylor from second. Following a strikeout, however, Kia Lang turned Hillgrove’s second double play of the night, giving the Lady Hawks the two-run victory.
“It was a big win,” Hillgrove coach Laura Voyles said. “I expected it to be a pitchers’ duel. We have good hitters, they have good hitters. We have a great pitcher, they have a great pitcher. (Both pitchers) won nationals this summer, so I knew whoever showed up and hit and whoever showed up and played defense was going to win the game.”
Jackson was 2-for-3 with a double, two walks and two RBIs, while Allen was 1-for-4 with an RBI and scored twice. Jarvis singled in the third inning, and Derry singled in the seventh.
Hillgrove’s lone error, which came in the second, helped Harrison (13-4, 1-2) build its 2-1 lead.
After Abby Broome doubled and left for pinch-runner Brooke Etheridge, Etheridge scored off a throwing error during Brooke Taylor’s at-bat. Taylor later came home on Bridgette Rainey’s single, putting Harrison in front 2-1.
The Lady Hawks tied the game in the sixth.
After Jackson walked with one out, Gibbins replaced her at first and moved to second on Michelle Forrester’s walk. Abby Evans reached first on a two-out error that allowed Gibbins to score and tie the score at 2-all.
Both teams had opportunities to score in the seventh and eighth, but came up short.
Abby Evans allowed three runs — two earned — on six hits, struck out eight and walked four for Hillgrove.
Rainey gave up five runs — two earned — on five hits, struck out seven and walked four for Harrison.
Lindley Bruce, Sierra Maddox and Kellie Carroll each had a hit for the Lady Hoyas.
Jackson’s two-out single in the first scored Allen and put Hillgrove in front 1-0.
“Bridgette pitched her butt off,” Harrison coach Matt Jones said. “To go nine innings and dig deep, she got us out of a lot of jams. I thought she pitched a great game (Tuesday). They have a good pitcher on their side as well. It was a great pitchers’ duel. Those little plays can make a difference because it’s hard to score runs. We had a couple of opportunities and, in the eighth, we barely missed beating out a bunt for a base hit that would have won the game.
“It was one of those things. Little plays didn’t go our way at the end. I’m proud of how our girls competed.”