SILK HOPE — One thing you can say about the Silk Hope and J.S. Waters softball teams after their championship game on Thursday afternoon in Silk Hope, both squads left it all on the …
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SILK HOPE — One thing you can say about the Silk Hope and J.S. Waters softball teams after their championship game on Thursday afternoon in Silk Hope, both squads left it all on the field.
Top-seeded Silk Hope completed an unbeaten season at 10-0 with a wild 15-14 victory in eight innings against No. 2 seeded J.S. Waters.
With the contest knotted at 14-all in the bottom of the eighth, Silk Hope tallied the game-winner when Marcy Clark reached on an error to lead things off, moved to second on a sacrifice by Riley Gibson, and scored in walk-off fashion when Emma Burke mashed a triple to plate Clark and to set off the Lady Eagles celebration.
J.S. Waters went down in order in the top of the eighth for only the third time of the game with two of the outs coming via strikeouts from Silk Hope reliever Lilli Hicks. Hicks, a sixth-grader, picked up the win on the mound for the Eagles after working the final two innings.
The game ending dramatics were the exclamation point on a game that was full of excitement all the way through. J.S. Waters started it right off the bat as the Cubs plated a pair of runs in the top of the first behind a one-out double from Katherine Gaines and a two-run double by Caleigh Warf.
Logan Gunter, who went 3-for-4 with a double, triple, a home run, and four runs to just miss the cycle in the contest, walked to start the bottom of the first for the Eagles before later scoring on a fielder’s choice by Clark to close the deficit to 2-1.
In the home half of the third, Silk Hope took its first lead of the contest with a three-spot ignited by a one-out home run from Gunter. A double by Hicks and a two-run shot by Clark tacked on two more runs as the Eagles soared in front 4-2.
After Clark set J.S. Waters down in order in the top of the fourth, Silk Hope looked to have put the game away in the bottom of the frame with a six-run uprising that pushed its lead to a comfortable 10-2. Burke started the uprising with a single before Brooklin Quee walked, Gunter slammed a two-run double, Hicks reached on an error, Hannah Mitchell clubbed a two-run double, and Gibson smashed an RBI-double to cap the Eagles onslaught.
A gritty Cubs club would not give up, however, and chipped away at the deficit with three runs in the top of the fifth behind a leadoff triple from Shelby Holder before Abby Cannup smacked an RBI-single, and later scored on an RBI-triple from Warf. An RBI-ground out by Ashlyn Humphrey would bring in Warf to cut the Silk Hope lead to 10-5.
In the bottom of the sixth, Silk Hope answered with four more runs to take a 14-5 cushion and seemingly put the contest away for the second time. A single by Burke, a triple by Gunter and a single by Hicks highlighted the uprising for the Eagles.
Three outs away from the title and leading 14-5, it all seemed to be a formality.
That wasn’t the case.
In shocking fashion, J.S. Waters pushed across nine runs to tie the game at 14-all. Holder and Gaines started things off with singles before Warf reached on a hit with one out, Humphrey doubled, Adrian Rives singled, Kaylon Gunter walked, and Sydney Sellers, Kendra Sing, and Holder all reached and scored.
Hicks would come in and record a pair of outs in relief for Silk Hope and strand the go ahead run at second base to keep the game tied.
Burke would crank the game-winning triple to plate Clark in the bottom of the 8th, however, as the Eagles would withstand the furious Cubs rally to close the season with the perfect 10-0 record.
Adding a 3-for-5 effort with two runs for Silk Hope at the plate was Burke while Hicks was 2-for-2 with three runs, Kelsey Morris 1-for-3 with a walk and a run, Quee 1-for-3 with a walk and a run, Mitchell 1-for-4 with a hit by pitch and two runs, Clark 1-for-5 with two runs, and Gibson 1-for-5.