DODSONVILLE — The Lynchburg-Clay Lady Mustangs picked up what coach Chad McConnaughey believes is their first tournament win in five years when they defeated Federal Hocking, 5-4, in walk-off fashion Tuesday in a first-round sectional tournament game.
The Lady Mustangs won the game in the bottom of the seventh and final inning when an RBI single by Courtney Watson.
Freshman Brya McClain led the Lady Mustang offense by going 3 for 4 with one RBI.
Lynchburg-Clay senior Sierra Benney got the scoring going early for the Lady Mustangs with a home run to left-center field. Jenna Waits then crossed the plate on a Madison Banks’ single make the score 2-0.
The Lady Mustangs tacked on solo run ins the second and third innings. Ashley Ernst crossed the plate making it 3-0 in the second and Banks scored in the fourth inning to make it 4-0.
The Lady Mustang offense struggled to adjust in the middle innings, but their defense, along with a solid performance from freshman pitcher Sarah McKinney, kept the Lady Lancers scoreless.
The Lady Mustangs played a flawless defensive game up until the seventh inning. With one out in the top of the inning the fourth batter for the Lady Lancers drove a ball over the center field fence to put Federal Hocking on the board and make it a 4-1 game. The Lady Mustangs struggled to get outs and three errors helped the Lady Lancers tie the game at 4-4.
“Our Achilles heal all year has been our inability to overcome adversity and avoid errors. We had been rolling all game long, so the top of the seventh came out of nowhere,” McConnaughey said. “I give the girls credit as they buckled down and got out of the top of the inning without giving up the lead.”
The bottom of the seventh inning began with Banks lining out to the first baseman for the first out. McKinney then singled to start the winning rally. Samantha Merry entered the game as a courtesy runner for the pitcher and advanced on a bunt from Watson. Watson beat the throw to first for the base for a hit, moving the winning run into scoring position at second base. Ernst followed with a ground ball that forced Merry out at third.
McClain came up with two outs and runners on first and second and she battled at the plate for a solid at-bat. She finally got a pitch to drive and singled up the middle as Watson rounded third and slid home for walk-off victory.
“Brya had a big game for us at the plate tonight. She went 3 for 4 and had the winning RBI. We were also glad to see Sierra get that home run early for us to get going. She has been hitting into a lot of bad luck lately,” McConnaughey said. “Our defense made some great plays tonight, including some big outs from Haleigh Snider at third. After the game we talked about the fact that we should have put that game out of reach, and we just let them hang around. We are very happy that we overcame some adversity tonight and got the win.”
McKinney gained the win on the mound. She threw all seven innings and gave up seven hits.
Offensively, the Lady Mustangs had three other players with the multi-hit games in Lunsford, Banks and McKinney. They had two hits each. Benney, Snider and Watson tallied one hit each.
The Lady Mustangs were to travel to North Adams on Wednesday, and then move on to play on Friday against No. 1 seed Wheelersburg in the district tournament. Wheelersburg is ranked No. 2 in the state. Game time is at 5 p.m. Friday in Wheelersburg.