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Patriots rally past Western in softball showdown Sat. afternoon

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By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

Southern Alamance didn’t have much going its way for most of Saturday afternoon’s non-conference showdown with visiting Western Alamance.

Despite a dismal situation for much of the game, the Patriots had enough time and, as it turned out, enough patience and a few other intangibles that came in handy.

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“We stayed together, and we didn’t give up, and it did pay off,” junior second baseman Kayla Wilson said.

Southern’s Kayla Wilson (from an earlier game).

Wilson scored the winning run in a three-run seventh inning as Southern pulled out a 5-4 victory.

“When you feel like things aren’t going your way, you have to keep scrapping and fighting,” Southern coach Jon Russell said. “This team seems to have that fight.”

Southern softball coach Jon Russell

Trailing 4-0 and rarely solving Western ace Taylor Apple, the Patriots (7-2) got on the board on Macyee Tickle’s two-run opposite-field home run to left field with one out in the sixth.

An inning later, there was one out before the big rally.

Abigail Holt’s bunt single turned into a run when she rounded the bases on a three-base throwing error. Then came consecutive walks to Greta Hessenthaler, Wilson and, on a full-count pitch, to Rylee Humble to load the bases.

Southern senior Greta Hessenthaler has signed to play at Elon next fall.

Ava Duggins put down a bunt, and the Warriors tried to get a force-out at the plate. Instead, the ball ended up going toward the backstop. Wilson, who began the play at second base, didn’t hesitate in charging home with the winning run.

“I kept on running. I kept on running,” Wilson said. “And I was hoping for the best.”

It turned out to be the worst scenario for the Warriors (6-2).

“We let a good team stay in a ball game, and they’re going to get you,” Western coach Scott Bell said.

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In the winning rally, the Patriots used a bunt, three walks and another bunt to produce three runs.

“You wouldn’t take those odds,” Russell said.

The ball was hit into play twice, both times just a few feet in front of the plate.

Humble was the winning pitcher, allowing nine hits and walking three. She struck out three.

Apple struck out 10 and walked five. Hessenthaler had a two-out double in the fifth, but the Warriors were unscathed by that.

Western senior Taylor Apple has signed to play with East Carolina next fall.

Western had a four-run third inning that included Jillian Brunton’s two-run home run.

Jillian Brunton (from an earlier game).

Ryan Justice, Payton Rainey, Kara Alday and Brunton all had two hits, and Makena Harper had a double for the Warriors. Carley Minter and Alday each supplied one RBI.

“We let them stick around too long,” Bell said. “We let one slip away.”

The outcome avenged Western’s 1-0 home victory in 10 innings from last April.

* Southern had a busy week, beginning with Tuesday night’s 15-0 romp past visiting Northern Durham in a DAC-VII Conference game. Hessenthaler belted a grand slam and Tickle had three hits in the game that was reduced to three innings.

On Thursday night at state power North Davidson, the Patriots allowed two runs in the bottom of the seventh in a 5-4 non-league loss. Hessenthaler homered and had three of Southern’s six hits.

Click here for BOX SCORE, as provided by Southern Alamance.

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