After a long wait, close games are starting to go the way of Southern Nash.
The Ladybirds’ inability to swing games in their favor was the story of their season – or at least it was until Thursday. Southern Nash won its second tight game in a 24-hour span Friday, dropping Nash Central, 6-3, in a makeup game at Nash Central High School.
“It was really frustrating because we felt like weren’t doing just enough to put it together, the one piece, the one inning,” Ladybirds shortstop Danyelle Noland said. “We finally got that bad inning out of the way.”
Friday, it wasn’t a bad inning the Ladybirds (4-11, 3-3 Big East Conference) had to dodge, but rather a good one that gave them all the run support they needed. Noland led off the game with a single to left field, Hannah Wood beat out an infield hit and Madison Bell reached on a hit-by-pitch to load the bases with no outs.
Nash Central (7-6, 4-2) then made three fielding miscues – an error and two fielded balls that failed to record an out – leading to a 5-0 Southern Nash lead before the Bulldogs had a chance to bat.
Southern Nash was 2-11 before its 5-1 victory Thursday against Wilson Fike, but the Ladybirds never stopped hoping their fortunes would turn around.
“By no means were we a 2-11 team, especially if you see us play,” Southern Nash coach Christy Bailey-Reams said. “We just had a lot of tight, close games where we haven’t been able to clamp down.”
After another Southern Nash run in the second inning made the score 6-0, Nash Central took control of the game and had its chances to come back.
The Bulldogs loaded the bases with nobody out in the second inning and managed only one run. They stranded the bases loaded again in the third inning, then managed one run out of a second-and-third, nobody-out situation in the fifth.
Nash Central pitcher Kelsee Whitley faced only one batter more than the minimum in the final five innings, but Nash Central couldn’t create a big inning. The Bulldogs went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners, seven of them in scoring position.
“We dug a hole that we couldn’t get out of,” Nash Central coach Gary Smith said. “We couldn’t get the timely hits, but you have to give (Southern Nash) credit. They’re coming on.”
Olivia Lamm pitched around nine hits and five walks to earn the victory for Southern Nash.
Wood went 2-for-4 with two runs for the Ladybirds, while Deja Pemberton went 3-for-3 with two RBI for Nash Central.
With four Big East games to go, Southern Nash believes it has a chance to re-enter the league title race.
“I don’t know what the click is, but it’s finally there,” Bailey-Reams said. “They flipped it around. We told them they just have to stay on this roll and keep it going.”
Nick Piotrowicz can be reached at 407-9952 or npiotrowicz@ rmtelegram.com