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Lady ‘Cats top Midway in thriller, 7-6

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By Goose Lindsay, Sports Editor

Monday’s Region 2-A opener between the Oliver Springs Lady Bobcats and Midway Lady Waves turned into an instant classic, as the Lady ‘Cats came from behind twice in the final two innings to pick up a 7-6 victory over the Lady Waves.

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Monday’s game was a seesaw affair from the start as Oliver Springs led 3-0 early, only to see Midway score two runs in the third and fifth innings to take a 4-3 lead. The Lady ‘Cats scored twice in the bottom of the sixth inning to grab a 5-4 lead, only to see Midway score two runs in the top of the seventh to go ahead, 6-5.

Oliver Springs, however, got the last at bat, and like Peyton Manning engineering the two-minute offense, the Lady ‘Cats scored when it mattered most as Courtney Jones drove in two runs with a bases loaded single in the bottom of the seventh inning for the 7-6 victory.

“I’m very proud of these ladies,” Lady ‘Cat head coach Matt Headden said following the game. “One thing I’ve learned about this group is they never give up, and in the biggest game of the year they really stepped it up.

“We needed that tonight because Midway has a good team. They’re a lot like us, they don’t give up. I’m sure it’s a heartbreaker for them, but they showed up and put some runs on the board. It’s better to go out in a game like this than to get blown out.”

“It was a good game. Both teams battled, but it didn’t come out our way,” a teary-eyed Midway head coach Megan Arndts said after talking with her seniors following the loss.

Arndts went on to praise those seniors despite the loss.

“It all started with them and they’re the best group anybody could ask for. They showed why tonight with their heart and effort.”

Monday’s game might have ended dramatically, but the beginning of the game belonged to the Lady ‘Cats. Oliver Springs scored two runs in the first inning and one more in the second to take a 3-0 lead.

Lady ‘Cat CF Rachel Griffith came up with the big hit in the first inning as she ripped a 3-2 two-out pitch for a triple that scored Emily Griffith and Jones.

Rachel’s sister, Emily, drove in run number three with a two-out double that brought home Tiffany Roberts in the second inning.

Midway scored their first two runs in the top of the third inning. Halie Wiley and Alex Richardson scored the runs after back-to-back singles from Christina Stansbury and Jayde Rose.

Midway took their first lead with two runs in the top of the fifth inning. Kallie Sohm tripled with one out and she was joined on the bases when Richardson walked. Stansbury followed with RBI single then Richardson did a good job on the base paths when she scored on a ground out to the pitcher from Rose.

Midway took that lead into the bottom of the sixth inning and had all the momentum as Oliver Springs hadn’t had a base runner since the second inning.

Oliver Springs, however, broke out of their hitting funk with three big hits in the bottom of the sixth. Jones and Kaylee Morgan opened the inning with back-to-back doubles to the left field fence that tied the score at 4-4. Rachel Griffith followed with a triple down the left field line that gave the Lady ‘Cats the lead at 5-4.

Despite having no outs, Griffith would be stranded at the end of the inning.

Down to their final three outs, Midway answered with a two-run rally in the top of the seventh inning. Wiley got things going with a triple off the center field fence then Sohm ripped a liner to left that turned into an two-run inside-the-park home run, and 7-6 lead for the Lady Waves.  

Like Midway, Oliver Springs was down to their final three outs, but wouldn’t go quietly into the night. Hope Jenkins opened the inning with a double down the left field line, but the biggest play of the inning came next when Emily Griffith reached on an error to give the Lady ‘Cats runners on second and third with no outs.

After a walk to Char-Lee Roberts, Jones ripped a pitch back up the middle, scoring two runs to keep Oliver Springs’ season alive.

Emily Griffith (2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 runs), Jones (3-4, 1 2B, 2 RBIs, 2 runs) and Rachel Griffith (2-3, 2 3Bs, 2 RBI) all had multiple hits for Oliver Springs in the win.

Sohm (2-3, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 2 runs) and Stansbury (2-4, 2 RBIs) led Midway in the loss.

With the victory, Oliver Springs (25-4) advances to the Region 2-A Championship Game against Coalfield on Wednesday. The Lady Jackets and Lady ‘Cats have played three times this season with Oliver Springs winning twice, the latest being in last week’s District 4-A title game.

“The good thing is I don’t have to do anything to get our girls up for Coalfield,” Headden said of Oliver Springs’ most bitter rival. “But it’s going to be difficult to beat a team as good as Coalfield three out of four times. We’ll have to be ready.”

 Wednesday’s game will be played at Arrowhead Park.