Chatham County Heroes League team survives late South Wake rally, wins, 10-7, in extra innings

Chatham County moved to 2-1 after the win


APEX — Chatham County’s first USA Softball Heroes League team is off to a solid start this summer.

After giving up a 7-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, Chatham County Post 292 beat South Wake, 10-7, in extra innings on June 5 following its win over South Wake just two days prior.

“(Chatham County) came out, made a couple of errors, gave them a few runs in the first inning, we got down, and they showed a lot of heart coming back,” Chatham County head coach Todd Brown said. “They pulled together as a team in the end."

In the teams’ second meeting of the season, Chatham County got off to a slow start from the plate. Post 292 went three up and three down in the first two innings while South Wake got its bats going early.

South Wake struck first in the bottom of the first inning after a single from Julie Selig sent Savanna Mullins, who was hit by a pitch, and pinch runner Aly Sauerbrei home for a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second inning, South Wake continued its momentum with a double from Addy Clarke that rolled under Chatham County shortstop Logan Gunter’s glove. Ashleigh Mannion followed that immediately with another double to send Clarke in and give South Wake a 3-0 lead.

Chatham County didn’t give in though.

Lilli Hicks’ single to start the top of the third inning sparked a monster rally from Chatham County in which it scored five runs on seven hits before its batting turn ended.

Marcy Clark, Calissa Clendenin and Jaylee Williams all reached first base following Hicks’ hit, but Hicks got thrown out on an attempt to reach home after Clendenin’s single.

Williams’ bunt to load the bases set Gunter up for her single to right field that sent in Clark for Chatham County’s first score. With South Wake making a pitching change from Whitehurst to Mullins, a sacrifice fly from Sophia Murchison and doubles from Avery Kiger and Emma Burke brought in three more runs to give Chatham County a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the third inning.

The score stayed put until the top of the sixth inning in which Gunter and Murchison each picked up an RBI to give Chatham County a 7-3 lead. Chatham County maintained the advantage until the bottom of the seventh in which three straight batters walked by Hicks loaded the bases and put Post 292 on its heels.

With one out, Mullins hit a single to the infield to send Sauerbrei home and load the bases once again. Leah Gore followed that with a double deep to left field, sending in three runs to tie the game.

Gore reached third base during the following at-bat, but a flyout ended the inning and South Wake’s chances of stealing the win.

In the top of the eighth inning with Clark starting as a baserunner on second base, Chatham County sent Clark home for the lead after singles from Clendenin, Williams and Gunter. Post 292 followed that with a strikeout and a popup, but Burke took advantage of the loaded bases, sending a double to right field to send Clendenin and Williams home for two more runs.

“I knew what (Mullins) was going to throw, and I just had to go up there being ready to hit,” Burke said. “I was not going down. I wanted to get on base and help my team out.”

With a 10-7 lead going into the bottom of the eighth inning, Hicks redeemed herself on the mound with a three-up-three-down inning. Murchison made a spectacular catch for the first out from the third base position, running past the Chatham County dugout and diving near the fence to grab a foul ball.

“I made an error in the previous inning with bases loaded, so I knew I had to make up for myself,” Murchison said. "Every time I see the ball remotely close, I want try my best to get it, so I just wanted to try to make the play for my team.”

After the win, Chatham County improved to 2-1, and it will play South Wake two more times this year.