Harrisonburg edges past Lady Hornets in extra innings

Published 10:11 am Saturday, May 7, 2022

By Daniel Green | BWS Sports

SULPHUR — The ebb and flow of sports can be quite crazy sometimes. At one time, you have the highest of highs. Then you may have the lowest of lows just moments later.

That up-and-down sequence told the tale in the final two innings of play on Friday as the 11th-seeded Hornbeck Lady Hornets went into extra innings in their Class C semifinal matchup with the No. 2 Harrisonburg Lady Dawgs.

In the end, a couple of errors by the Lady Hornets allowed the Lady Dawgs to escape with a 6-5 victory on Friday, sending Harrisonburg to the Class C state championship on Saturday.

But the Lady Hornets weren’t about to cower to someone ranked a little higher than them. In previous playoff games, Hornbeck had knocked off No. 6 Ebarb and No. 3 Downsville.

And they wasted little time taking the lead as Morgan Smith tripled to open the second inning and later scored on a groundout from Abby Nicholas, allowing the Lady Hornets to take a 1-0 lead.

However, a home run off the bat of Harrisonburg’s Madison Kennedy gave the Lady Dawgs a 2-1 advantage.

After a scoreless fourth and fifth, Hornbeck was able to work its way back into a tie, scoring a run in the top of the sixth. But a couple of miscues by the Lady Hornets in the bottom half of the frame gave Harrisonburg the lead, 4-2.

However, facing elimination, the Lady Hornets managed to get a couple of runners on base and Hannah Mitchell connected on a 3-run blast to push Hornbeck into the lead, 5-4.

But Harrisonburg was up to the challenge as pitcher Jessi White smacked a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.

Hornbeck went down in order in the eighth, but Harrisonburg was able to take advantage of another error and scored with two outs to claim the win.

White gave up five runs on five hits with 11 strikeouts in the complete-game win. Kennedy had a pair of hits in the win for the Lady Dawgs, including a home run, while Gracie Vinson and Grace Ainsworth collected two hits apiece.

Abby Nicholas suffered the loss, giving up six runs on 10 hits with eight strikeouts. Nicholas was 1-for-3 with an RBI, while Smith added two hits and two runs scored, with one of her hits being a triple.