Boyd County softball’s Senior Night game had all but slipped away from the home team.
The next moment, however, a celebration was breaking out among Boyd County fans and players.
After watching Rowan County stage a big rally in the top of the seventh to take a one-run lead, the Lady Lions scored twice on a two-out throwing error to pull out a 7-6 victory Monday night.
“We definitely got a break at the end,” Boyd County coach Geoff Stewart. “It’s an ugly win, but we will take it.”
With Bri Crooks aboard at third and Lakin Crum on second for the Lady Lions, Rowan County third baseman Courtnea Bolander reacted quickly to senior Allison Roark’s one-hop rocket. Bolander went to her knees to make an outstanding stop, then righted herself, but the throw across the diamond skipped past first baseman Baileigh Garvin.
“I saw the ball get away and I took off for home,” said Crum, who scored behind Crooks without a play at the plate.
One of four Boyd County senior starters honored prior to the matchup of 20-game winners, Crum doubled to deep right-center with one out in the seventh.
“I was really wanting to hit one over (the fence),” Crum said. “It came up short, but I was happy with the double. It felt great scoring that last run.”
Crum also singled off the bottom of the left-field fence during Boyd County’s two-run fourth and scored three runs on the night.
“It’s good to see Lakin doing all that,” Stewart said. “She had been struggling a little bit offensively, but comes out tonight and gets two big hits. Our seniors had a great day.”
Nicole Goins launched a solo home run in the fifth inning to give her six this season, according to her coach.
“I didn’t really feel that one that much,” Goins said of way the ball jumped off the bat. “Those are the ones that go out.”
Overall, Goins reached base in three of her four trips to the plate. Shortstop Emily Stewart singled, walked and stole two bases, while Roark supplied a key bunt single and run-scoring groundout to go with her dramatic final at-bat.
The seniors had a photo taken together in front of their dugout back wall, which was covered with individual pictures of the soon-to-be grads. There was also a decorative display on the road into the ballpark, as well as other tributes to the senior group.
“It means a lot. We understand how much the underclassmen put into it,” said Goins, whose sister Destiny is a freshman starter. “This is the biggest senior class in softball since I was in eighth grade, and we appreciate everything. My sister has been up till midnight lately making posters and party balls. She was even hiding things under a blanket.”
Boyd County (21-10) finished with 10 hits, including two each from Hunter Reeves and Taylor Wheeler. The Lady Lions also benefitted from three Rowan County errors.
“Defensively, we might make the play, and we might not,” Lady Vikings coach Larry Slone said. “It’s very frustrating. We’re 32 games into the season (21-11) and playing like it’s the fifth game.”
At the same time, Slone was pleased with how his team battled back after trailing 5-2.
Boyd County starting pitcher Lora Thompson retired 14 consecutive batters before Rowan County scored four times in the seventh to go up 6-5.
A Boyd County infield error helped open the door as seven consecutive batters reached base. Leadoff hitter McKenzie Summers, the team’s lone senior and a University of Pikeville signee, lined a two-run single to end Thompson’s outing. Becca Duff walked with the bases loaded and Lindsey Wilson’s RBI single put Rowan ahead.
“Larry always has his kids ready to play,” Geoff Stewart said. “He’s been around a long time and does a great coaching job there.”
ROWAN CO. 200 000 4 — 6 6 3
BOYD CO. 001 220 2 — 7 10 1
Mitchell and Wilson; Thompson, Meade (7) and Roark. W—Meade. L—Mitchell. 2B—Wheeler (BC), Crum (BC). HR—N. Goins (BC).