By Bryan Davis
It’s every kid’s dream. It’s the last inning, the bases are loaded and there are two strikes with two outs. It’s all up to one batter.
Lauren Hitt lived that dream on Saturday night. A hot hitter of late, Hitt came to the plate with Oak Hill facing elimination from the state tournament in Ridgeland.
The Lady Raiders were down 10-6, and it was their last at-bat. There were two outs and time was running out in the game.
The Wilkinson County Christian Academy coach could have eaten time off the clock with a time out, but he opted to let Hitt finish her at-bat. What a finish it was! She laced the 2-2 pitch over the fence to tie the game.
That’s when the fun started. A game that started a 6 p.m. lasted four hours, seeing four tie-breaker innings played until Oak Hill finally picked up enough runs in the tenth to win the game 17-14 and play on until Monday.
“The whole season came down to Saturday night,” Said Oak Hill head coach Marion Bratton. “That’s what we waited for the whole year.”
Going into this weekend’s state championship tourney, the Lady Raiders knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Injuries have plagued the team that won a No. 2 spot in the district to make it to North State last weekend. Two wins there put them in state tournament play this weekend.
Unfortunately for the Lady Raiders, their season would eventually come to an end against Bowling Green yesterday. That was a 4-2 loss.
Saturday started out well for the Lady Raiders, who lost to Silliman, the No. 1 team out of the South, 5-4. They actually out-hit their opponent 5-2 in the game, but key mistakes cost them the game.
“The game ended on a pop out to short with the tying run at second,” Bratton said. The game’s time expired before Oak Hill could finish what looked to be a rally.
Paige Dawkins, who had a collision at first earlier in the game, continued playing, and she provided an RBI single to make it 5-4 with runners at first and second. That would be all Oak Hill would get though.
Bratton says that it’s likely Dawkins toughed out, not only Saturday’s games, but also Monday’s game with a broken wrist.
Abby Falkner had two hits, including a double in the game. Tori Ellis and Anna Lummus also had a single each.
The second game looked like it was the end of the road for the Lady Raiders.
WCCA had picked up 10 runs over the first four innings, including seven in the fourth. Hitt’s grand slam in the sixth forced the game onward.
Bratton said the marathon ended when the Lady Raiders picked up five runs in the tenth, holding WCCA to two in the bottom of the inning, after three innings of matching up with each other.
Dawkins had a hit in the game, as well as Lummus and Kim Kelly.
Maegan Ellis had four singles and a double. Mary Helon Hays had two singles and a double. Tori Ellis had two hits, and Hitt had two hits off the bench.
In the game against Bowling Green, Mamie Allen came to the circle to pitch her fourth game of the series. She struck out six batters, but a couple of errors put Oak Hill down in a 4-0 hole they could not climb out of.
They left runners on second and third in the top of the sixth to seal the loss.
“We had a chance,” Bratton said. “Kim (Kelly) hit a ball that looked like it was going to fall in, but the center fielder came in and made a good play on it.”
That put an end to the 2010 season for Oak Hill.
“It was a great season,” Bratton said. “I’m very proud of the girls and the way it ended. We probably played our best ball of the year, and that’s what you want when you’re at that level.”