By Kristen Stevens
Daily Times Leader
Oak Hill’s Lady Raiders thought they had two strikes against them before they even loaded the bus for district rival, Winston Academy, Monday afternoon. Veteran pitcher Mamie Allen and all-around standout, Tori Ellis, would both spend the game on the bench with injuries.
Maegen Ellis took the pitching circle for Allen and Coach Marion Bratton moved his outfielders around to compensate for Tori Ellis’s loss, putting Codi Williams in right field and moving Anne Stevens to left field. Meg McBrayer moved up to play third base for Maegen Ellis.
First at bat Ellis scored for the Lady Raiders in the first inning on an RBI by shortstop Mary Helon Hays but otherwise Winston’s Lady Patriots played a tight defense. Winston’s program is known for producing powerful batters, and the Lady Pats had two excellent hits in the first inning, but Oak Hill’s defense allowed the team one run, tying up the game one to one.
The score wouldn’t budge until the top of the fourth inning when Bratton’s girls scored two more runs. Second baseman, Anna Lummus, came to bat first and was hit by the ball. She quickly stole second and Hays advanced her to third with a single hit to left field. Hays stole second, putting both girls into scoring position. Lummus scored on an RBI by first baseman Paige Dawkins, followed by Hays’s run on an RBI by centerfielder Abby Falkner. Oak Hill’s infield made light work of Winston’s next three batters, throwing them all out at first base.
It looked like the game was close to being over. Oak Hill entered the top of the fifth inning with a two run lead. Stevens singled to centerfield, followed by catcher Hunter Coleman’s being hit by the ball. Ellis ripped a ball to the left field fence bringing Stevens home for the Raiders’ fourth run. Costly infield errors at Winston’s home plate brought in Coleman and Ellis and put Falkner and Dawkins on base.
Winston replaced their pitcher, and while she was one of the fastest pitchers the Lady Raiders have faced this season, the adrenalin rush was contagious and Bratton’s girls kept hitting the ball. The bases filled three times during the fifth inning. Hays scored on a walk, and Dawkins and Falkner scored on a double RBI by Kim Kelly. Kelly scored on an RBI by Lummus. The inning’s line up started over, and Stevens scored the Lady Raiders’ final run on Hays’s second single on the night, a line drive to left field. The Lady Raiders scored nine runs, bringing the score up to 12-1.
Instead of crumbling, however, the Lady Pats came back fighting, and the Lady Raiders’ run at bat took its toll on their energy. Two walks, two infield errors, one out of the park homerun and one in the park homerun by Winston resulted in nine runs for the Lady Pats as well. Oak Hill would persevere, however, eventually throwing out two runners at first and striking out one.
Ellis had two strikeouts for the night and allowed six runners on base by ball. She led from the batter’s box with one single and one double. Hays and Stevens had two singles each, and Kelly had one double.
The Lady Raiders’ district rematch with Manchester Academy is scheduled for September 7 at 4 p.m. at Oak Hill.