On Monday evening, it was freshman third-baseman Sarah King’s fifth-inning grand slam that broke open a 4-4 contest and propelled the Lady Hurricanes to a 9-7 semifinal victory.
Senior pitcher Kara Weems struck out five but walked six and took the loss — but her squad battled to come back from a 9-4 deficit.
“Kara struggles sometimes if she feels like she is not getting the calls,” Lady Pioneers head coach Carla Weems said. “If it goes one way or the other, she sometimes puts it right down the middle. Sometimes pitchers put too much pressure on themselves than they need to. But, I am proud of them — they are not going to give up. You can't count them out.”
An error at third base opened the floodgates for East's three-run second with two walks by Weems to open the inning. With two out and two on, Abby Fugate hit an in-between hop to third that Mackenzie Baldwin could not handle — bringing home a run. KeiAndra Harper followed with a two-run single to give the 'Canes a 3-0 lead.
A solo homer off the bat of Tapanga Asbury in the top of the fourth made it a 4-0 game. However, the Crockett bats were just beginning to warm up.
The Pioneers scored four runs on six hits in the last of the fourth with Alyssa Suits singling in a run. Weems doubled home two more runs and Matty McKee's RBI hit knotted the game.
The 'Canes’ Morgan Heidl singled to open the fifth, then Randi Drinnon and Emma Frost worked Weems for free passes. That set up King, who crushed 3-2 pitch over the fence in left field to stake East to an 8-4 advantage.
“She is a freshman who is a natural outfielder that we converted to the infield this year,” Hurricanes head coach Robin Vannoy said. “She did a great job for us in the field and at the plate. Emma has been battling a sore arm for about a week now. We took her out for a couple of days but she came back Saturday and did a good job, so I felt pretty confident that she could go today.”
Crockett struck for three runs in the last of the sixth. Mackenzie Baldwin knocked in a pair of runs with a triple and Miller followed with a base knock to plate Baldwin. Riley Hope grounded into a 4-4-3 double play to end the inning and the Pioneers went down in order in the seventh.
Crockett finished its record setting season at 33-11-1.