LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - ST. GEORGE, UTAH (News Release) – Another extra-inning game, another miraculous finish for the Angelina College Lady Roadrunners.
Pinch runners Krissy Boulware and Sidney Allen teamed up on a single play, with Allen forcing a bad throw on a potential double-play ball and Boulware speeding home with the winning run to give AC a 4-3 win in eight innings over Jefferson College (MO) in Thursday's NJCAA World Series in Utah.
It wasn't exactly how head coach Mark Mattson drew it up. He had the meat of his order leading off the bottom of the eighth, and he said he just knew one of his heavy hitters would end the game with a walk-off homer. Taylor Harper nearly proved him right, launching a ball well over the left field fence – but just foul. Harper grounded out on the next pitch, but Trina Deyo ripped a double to the wall, giving way to Boulware, the pinch runner. Meranda Rodriguez drew a walk, and Mattson sent Allen in to run for Rodriguez. Tessa Thomas smashed a hard ground ball to second base, but Allen made it difficult on the tag; and when the throw to first went awry, Boulware raced across the plate for the win.
"I knew we had Taylor and Trina coming up in the bottom of the inning, and I really felt one of them would end the game for us," Mattson said. "While Taylor was playing defense in the top of the inning, I was rubbing her bat handle and pointing, letting her know she was going to do it.
"But the way it ended was awesome. To have a couple of young ladies who don't get to play a lot help us win one like this shows how much they stay in the game no matter what."
AC scored twice in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead, with Katelyn Barker drawing a walk and stealing second and third. Madi Sumrall scored Barker with a sacrifice fly for the first run, and Sage Martinez walked and scored on Harper's single.
But Jefferson, which came into the game averaging nine runs per contest, took the lead with a three-run third inning. Morgan Brown's double drove in one of the runs, and Anna Reed plated two more with a single.
That was all the scoring the Lady Vikings would get. AC pitchers Gia Johns and Samantha Moore teamed up to hold down the high-powered Viking lineup over the next five innings.
Trailing 3-2 in the fifth, the Lady 'Runners tied the game after Sumrall singled and scored on Melissa Boland's base hit.
For the next two innings, the teams traded threats, with neither able to push across the go-ahead run. Not until the bottom of the eighth would AC find yet another way to an unlikely finish.