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By GOOSE LINDSAY
In what will go down as one of the greatest games ever played in District 4-A softball, the Coalfield Lady Yellow Jackets won the District 4-A Tournament championship Friday night with a 3-2 12-inning victory over Oliver Springs.
Friday’s game actually went into the 10th inning before either team scored and that wasn’t until the international tiebreaker rule that automatically puts a runner on second base to start the inning was put into effect.
Both teams would score a run in the 10th inning and then both would score in the 12th. Coalfield, however, scored two runs in their half of the inning while Oliver Springs plated just one and that was the difference.
A big reason why neither team could do much offensively Friday was the performance of star pitchers Kim Hall (Oliver Springs) and Lindsey Fadnek (Coalfield).
Fadnek, an eighth-grader, pitched an absolute masterpiece. In 12 innings of work, Fadnek allowed only seven hits, two walks and two hit batters while recording an amazing 21 strikeouts.
Hall was just as impressive, allowing only six hits and no walks while striking out 13.
For the season, Hall and Fadnek have faced off four times and have put up incredible numbers.
Fadnek has thrown 32 innings, allowing 27 hits and 10 walks while striking out 56. Hall has tossed 32 1/3 innings, allowing 13 hits and one walk while recording 62 strikeouts.
Coalfield actually had two hits in the first inning, but then Hall and the Lady ‘Cats retired 23 straight Lady Jackets before Coalfield picked up a one-out single in the ninth inning.
Oliver Springs did have a pair of chances to score in regulation, but they couldn’t come up with a big hit to break the tie.
Oliver Springs’ first scoring chance came in the top of the fourth inning.
Hall led off the inning with a double and Kayla Hughes picked up an infield single later in the inning, but Fadnek used a pair of strikeouts to get out of the jam.
The fifth inning would see Oliver Springs leave the bases loaded.
Kayla Crisp reached on a fielder’s choice, Tabitha Tinker singled and a pitch hit Hall, but the Lady Jackets picked off Crisp at third with two outs to end the threat.
The seventh inning would see a great defensive play from Crisp keep the Lady Jackets from putting together a threat. Fadnek hit a shot into the outfield gap, but Crisp made a spectacular diving catch to rob Fadnek of at least a double.
Oliver Springs almost took the lead in the top of the eighth inning when Hall ripped a long drive to left, but the ball hooked foul as Coalfield dodge a bullet.
The 10th inning opened with Amber Thornton being placed on second. Thornton was almost left stranded after Fadnek recorded back-to-back strikeouts, but Crisp delivered with a two-out single that gave the Lady ‘Cats the lead.
Fadnek opened the bottom of the 10th inning on second base and she also scored on a two-out single.
Oliver Springs opened the 11th inning with Tabitha Tinker on second then Hall walked, but both runners would be left stranded at the end of the inning.
Coalfield actually only sent two hitters to the plate in the bottom of the inning as a double play helped end the inning.
The 12th inning opened with Brooke Barger on second and she scored on a two-out single from Rachel Dunlap. Crisp then reached on an error, but both runners would be left stranded at the end of the inning.
The bottom of the inning opened with Tallassee Jones on second. She moved to third on a ground out and she stayed at third when Chelsea Landrum reached on a bunt single. Fadnek drove in Jones when she reached on an error then Andrea Foster ended the game with a double.
With the loss, Oliver Springs must travel to Midway Monday evening for the first round of the Region 2-A Tournament. Midway beat Oliver Springs last year 4-1 in the region championship game. That game, coincidentally, lasted 12 innings.
Coalfield will host Rockwood. The Lady Jackets and Lady Tigers split a pair of games in the regular season.