Eighth-seeded West Wilkes scored three runs in the fifth inning and got an outstanding defensive play to end the game in a 3-2 victory over 25th-seeded Smoky Mountain in the first round of the state 2-A softball playoffs May 7 at Millers Creek.
With two on and two out in the top of the seventh, SM’s Alannah Hopkins hit a drive that appeared to be heading to the gap for a 4-3 lead. However, center fielder Carly Parsons tracked the ball down to end the game.
“That was probably the hardest hit ball Alannah’s had all season, and the center fielder made a great catch on it,” Coach Megan Davis said.
The Lady Hawks scored all their runs in the fifth to overcome a 2-0 deficit. Sophie Nicholas had a run-scoring double and Kendall Stanley had an RBI single. A throwing error on the play allowed the lead run to score.
The Lady Mustangs (8-15) scored a run in the second. Paige Monteith and Bree Spencer were both hit by pitches, and Hannah King walked to load the bases. Allie Trantham walked to force in a run.
They made it 2-0 in the third. Katie Allison singled, and Hopkins doubled. Monteith drove in the run with an infield out.
“We played a really good game,” Davis said. “Alannah pitched a great game. We just didn’t put it together at the plate or defensively.”
Brianna Lewis pitched five and two-thirds innings of relief for the win.
“It was a season of battles,” Davis said. “I felt we would pull that one out because of our tough schedule.”
The team was young with half of the 16 players freshmen and sophomores. Davis is hoping the experience gained in close games this season will pay off in the future. Six of the losses were by one or two runs
“The key will be to turn those one- and two-run losses from this year into one- and two-run wins next year,” Davis said.