Relive softball's incredible seven-run rally
Team rose from 6-0 deficit to surprise SWCU Eagles
Coburn knocked in game-winning runs in bottom of 7thAccess to Box Score, Play-by-Play (below)
Individual Player Statistics (access below)
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- There has been 24 wins during the three seasons of the young Southwestern Assemblies of God University softball programs existence.
Four times they scored runs in the last inning to pull off victories a year ago. Twice in one day they rallied to top the University of Dallas, 7-6 and 10-9. In the nightcap they scored four times in the top of the seventh to edge the Crusaders.
Then there was a 6-5 win over Texas College and, in a 5-3 triumph against Huston-Tillotson University, when the Lady Lions broke a tie by tallying twice in top of the seventh.
But nothing comes close to matching their comeback on Thursday.
Head Coach Tim Grant’s troops had been held to three hits by Southwestern Christian University (Ok) freshman right-hander Katelyn Dollard.
When the visiting Eagles extended a 3-0 lead with three runs in the top of the sixth, their 6-0 lead appeared commanding. The inning opened with an infield error at third and was fueled by SAGU outfielders choosing to eschew the cutoff.
Having swept the University of Dallas just two days earlier, including a 6-5 come-from-behind win in the last inning, the Lady Lions were not lacking for confidence.
What would happen over the next two innings was a stunning march back from the brink of certain defeat with seven unanswered runs.
Here is the anatomy of the comeback:
SIXTH INNING: Three Runs
Britney Johnson (Tahlequah, Ok / Tahlequah HS) jump-started things when she stroked a shot down the leftfield line and motored into second with a stand-up double. Amber Gignac (Houston, Tx / Homeschool) grounded to shortstop. Johnson’s ill-fated decision to advance to third ended when the shortstop quickly gunned her down.
The error in judgment didn’t deter the Jungle Queens.
Bethany Krock (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian) sent a low-skirting ground ball past the first baseman before Kelsey Coburn (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS) poked one through the infield that scored Gignac (GEE-nee-ack) from second. The speedy Krock took third and, on the throw, Coburn alertly dashed into scoring position at second.
Heather Wyatt (Lake Jackson, Tx / Brazoswood HS), second on the team in RBI’s, chopped a grounder to the second baseman, whose decision to go to the plate went awry. Krock easily beat the throw on what was ruled a fielder’s choice. Coburn moved to third, prompting the catcher to try to nab her. She misfired and Coburn raced home to cut the deficit in half.
Wyatt swiped second but the rally died when the next two batters struck out.
SAGU’s Hannah Lee (Hardinsburg, Ky / Breckinridge HS) took the circle in the top of the seventh and somehow escaped a crazy inning.
The first batter almost homered to deep left before Krock recovered and, with her back against the wall, made the catch.
The Eagles No. 3 batter hit an infield can of corn that was dropped at first. The ensuing hitter knocked a grounder to Blayr Huff (Keller, Tx / Liberty Christian HS) at second. She fielded it cleanly and tossed to Maldonado, approaching the bag in double-play attempt. The ball was bobbled and everyone was safe.
A focused Lee retired the next two on a long fly to Gignac in centerfield and a ground ball to Maldonado.
SEVENTH INNING: Four Runs
Lynette Riggs (Leupp, Az / Flagstaff HS) led off with a flair to shallow rightfield. A fielder’s choice off the bat of Maldonado forced Riggs at second. For the second consecutive inning Johnson got a base hit, this one in the hole on the left side.
Gignac followed with a soft liner to centerfield that sent Maldonado scurrying safely into third and Johnson to second.
The Lady Lions, trailing 6-3, had the bases jammed with one out.
Krock strode to the plate. The lefty bounced one to the first baseman, who passed up the easy out at first to throw to catcher. It was off target and both Maldonado and Johnson parlayed the decision into ‘green-lighting’ across the dish. Gignac and Krock did similarly, seizing second and third on the misplay.
Next came Coburn, who has played a critical part in each comeback over the past two seasons. She had already driven in the first run. SAGU’s RBI leader last year as well as this year had two runners in scoring position with only one out.
The Lady Lions were now within one run at 6-5.
Incredibly, with first base open, the Eagles chose to pitch to Coburn. The next two batters in the line-up were hitless. Team Purple couldn't have chosen a more preferred batter for the situation.
The 5’8 gritty sophomore took complete advantage.
Coburn ripped a liner over the outstretched glove of the second baseman and into the gap in right-centerfield for the game-winner. Gignac and Krock sprinted home with the sixth and seventh runs!
The rally also gave SAGU a three-game winning streak.
Coburn finished with three hits and three runs batted in. Both Krock and Johnson were credited with two hits.
The Lady Lions’ seven-run comeback took just seven hits. They had a 10 to 8 advantage in hits, which led to Lee being credited with her 5th pitching victory.
She walked no one and struck out three. Lee was charged with six runs, though only four were earned.
Game Two Summary
SAGU failed in their bid to tie their longest streak ever (four) by dropping the nightcap, 9-4. They trailed 6-1 after five innings, but they couldn’t catch lightning in a bottle twice in the same day.
The Lady Lions had two hits in the first inning and none through the next four innings. Three hits in the sixth, the last by Huff, produced a run to cut the margin to 6-2.
In the seventh the Eagles cashed in on a walk, then four hits, as well as an ill-fated throw to the plate that allowed runners to advance, to tack on three decisive runs.
The doubleheader showed the great cost, by both teams, of not throwing to the cutoff.
There would be no magic in the home half of the seventh.
Maldonado singled to left-center. Walks to Johnson and Gignac loaded the bases with no outs. What followed was a shallow, infield pop-up and a base on balls to Coburn for a run.
Then, with the bases still full of the color purple, were back-to-back ground outs to the shortstop by Wyatt and Lee. Wyatt's scored the final run in a 9-4 setback.
Maldonado took the loss, permitting 10 hits and four walks.
SAGU totaled six hits. They also benefitted by six walks, but stranding eight runners proved costly.
Final Week includes four-game homestand
While the loss secured last place in the Sooner Athletic Conference for the Lady Lions. They still have a chance to finish the season on a positive note with six games remaining this week.
The last four will be at home on Friday and Saturday, all against Hillsdale College (Ok). SAGU is 7-5 against the Lady Saints over the past three seasons, including 2-2 this year.
Box Score / Play-by-Play: http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Team/TeamSchedule.aspx?association=10&sg=WBA&team=18708&sea=NAIWBA_2014
Click on the underlined score to view the box score or on the split blue box icon on the right to access the play-by-play account of the contest.
Individual Player Statistics: http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Team/IndividualStats.aspx?association=10&sg=WBA&sea=NAIWBA_2014&team=18708