Here is the thing about the game of softball: A team can look dormant, struggle and look nothing like a winner one second, and the next they can bang the ball all over the yard like it was on a tee.
The West Holmes Lady Knights experienced both of those feelings in their contest with Waynedale on Monday, April 8 at West Holmes High School.
After struggling in all phases and falling behind 7-2, the Lady Knights posted an improbable comeback victory by exploding for 11 runs in the sixth inning in what would eventually become a 13-7 victory to run their record to 7-2 on the campaign.
For most of the game the Golden Bears appeared to be in complete command as it got clutch hitting and solid pitching from Kelsey Wolfe.
Waynedale quickly jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Madison Rowe singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Cara Keim’s RBI single to center.
The Golden Bears tacked on a second run in the second inning when Brooklyn Schlabach tripled and scored on a wild pitch.
West Holmes left the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning, and Waynedale added another single tally in the third on a pair of errors and Mallory Shoup’s single.
The Lady Knights, who couldn’t string a rally together in the second inning, didn’t need one in the bottom of the third when Maddie Woods hammered a solo home run to left to get her team on the board.
After a scoreless fourth inning, Waynedale extended its lead to 6-1 in the fifth. Rowe smoked a home run to center to start the inning. With one out Keim singled, and Kelsey Wolfe walked. After both runners moved up 60 feet, Shoup singled both home for the 6-1 edge.
West Holmes looked like it was going to stage a big fifth inning but in the end mustered just one run. Woods led off with a bunt single, and Avery Yoder doubled her home. Jazz Knapp reached on a fielder’s choice, and the red-hot Jessica Yabroff doubled, but Waynedale cut down Yoder at home plate trying to score to keep it a 6-2 ballgame.
The Golden Bears got the run right back in the top of the sixth when Rowe singled and came around on Keim’s double before the Lady Knights simply exploded on offense, sending 14 batters to the plate in the inning.
The onslaught began with a Lexi Martin single, followed by a double from Kinsey Patterson. Jessie Keen singled home a run, and Woods singled in another to trim the deficit to 7-4. Yoder singled, and Callie Cline’s single to center plated a pair to get the Lady Knights to within 7-6. Knapp drew a walk to load the bases, and Yabroff continued her great season by slamming a grand slam over the wall in center to give her team a 10-7 advantage, marking West Holmes’ first lead of the game.
However, the Lady Knights were not done. After Steph Large struck out and Martin grounded out for the second out, singles from Patterson and Keen brought the slugging Woods to the plate. She fell behind 0-2 before depositing a dinger over the wall in left to complete the 11-run outburst.
Stunned, the Golden Bears had one last chance to build a rally of their own but went quietly. West Holmes had staged an incredible late-inning rally, and what seemed like a loss turned into a scintillating win.
Martin went the distance for West Holmes to collect the win, hurling seven innings, allowing 12 hits, striking out two and walking three. The loss went to Wolfe, who went six innings, allowing 14 hits, striking out three and walking a pair.
Hitting heroes were all over the scorebook for both sides.
Woods went 4-of-5 with two home runs and five RBI, Yabroff recorded three hits including the grand slam, Patterson went a perfect 3-of-3 at the dish with a single and a double, and Yoder and Keen both raked a pair of hits.
Waynedale was led in hitting by Rowe, who went 3-of-4 including a home run; Keim, who had two hits and drove home a pair; and Schlabach, who had two hits including a triple.