DUDLEY — The Southern Wayne Saints defeated the Hunt Warriors 12-7 on Friday night to remain undefeated in conference play.
The Saints got off to a less-than-ideal start on Friday night when they went down 2-0 early in the top of the first inning thanks to a two-run home run from Hunt’s Callie Ray.
After surrendering the home run, Southern Wayne’s Reagan Stribble found her rhythm in the game and did not surrender another run throughout the rest of the first inning and the second and third innings.
However, the Southern Wayne batters were unable to support Stribble’s excellent pitching with runs. In the top of the fourth inning, Hunt extended its lead to 3-0 when Melaina Dixon hit an RBI double that scored her teammate Olivia Yount.
With the game close to getting away from the Saints, Southern Wayne head coach Andy Sullivan said he spoke to the Saints before the beginning of the bottom of the fourth inning about their need to get some runs on the board.
“We took a timeout, and we came up here in between innings, and we talked about (how) it was our time, and (it was) now or never,” Sullivan said. “I told the girls in the dugout, ‘they want the beast. Let’s give it to them.’ ”
Sullivan’s pep talk ignited his players, and Southern Wayne batter Gracie Hinson opened up the inning with a leadoff double.
The next batter up for Southern Wayne was Morgan Brinnberry, and she followed Hinson’s double with a double of her own to score Hinson and earn an RBI.
After a walk from Kylie Barwick and a flyout from Jocelin Aguilar, Makalya Long tied up the game at 3-3 by hitting a two-RBI triple, which scored Brinberry and Barwick.
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Long called her own number and gave the Saints a 4-3 lead on the following at-bat when she came home score due to a wild pitch from Ray.
Later in the inning, with the Saints still leading by one run, Laura Summerlin hit an RBI double, extending the Southern Wayne lead to two runs and sparking a two-out rally.
The Saints ended the inning up 7-3 and clearly controlled the game.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Saints put the game away for good when they put together a five-run inning.
The excellent inning from the batter’s box was started off by Barwick, who opened up the bottom of the fifth by getting on base with a walk.
Barwick then scored on the next play when Aguilar hit an RBI double.
Aguilar then scored during the next at-bat thanks to a passed ball, and Stribble and Summerlin scored later in the inning to give the Saints a 12-3 lead.
The Warriors mounted a small comeback in the sixth inning to cut the Saints’ lead down to 12-7, but Stribble shut the door in the seventh inning by forcing three straight groundouts in the seventh inning.
With the win, Southern Wayne improved to 4-4 overall, and 2-0 in Quad County 3A Conference play. Southern Wayne will next host South Johnston (7-1, 2-0) in another conference matchup on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.