SOUTH SHORE The Boyd County National 8-10-year-old softball pitching staff compiled its third no-hitter of the Little League All-Stars summer on Friday night.
And Russell-Flatwoods knew Boyd County was capable of that. So Russell figured it would have to find other ways onto the scoreboard.
“I think the girls came in today kinda thinking, ‘There’s no way we can beat a great team like Boyd County,’” Russell manager Mandi Conley Wilson said — right after watching her team do just that, 10-9, when Ava Howard crossed the dish with a walk-off run on a wild pitch on Friday night at the Stan Spence Little League complex.
“So we just played smart,” Conley Wilson continued, “and they ran the bases when they needed to.”
Russell scored each of its 10 runs on a Boyd County wild pitch, passed ball or error to force a winner-take-all rematch for the Kentucky District 6 championship scheduled for today at 2 p.m. That caused some consternation with Boyd County National, which had 10 players scheduled to participate in a travel-ball tournament today, manager Kristin May said.
Ava Frasure tallied three of those runs and Ava Washington and Madi Hayes each scored twice for Russell.
“I think it was the baserunning,” Conley Wilson said. “We forced a lot of errors and we took advantage.”
“Our pitchers were off today,” she said. “Even though they threw a no-hitter, they were still off a little bit. They weren’t crisp like they had been the past two games.”
Kaylee May was 3 for 3 with five RBIs, Emilee Bush doubled twice and Brooklyn Jacobs knocked in two runs for Boyd County National, which had won its two previous tournament games by a combined 34-5.
It appeared set on continuing that scorching start with a three-run top of the first inning Friday. Jacobs produced an RBI and May added a two-run-scoring extra base hit.
Conley Wilson knew Russell had to respond, and it did, with a three-run first of its own. Washington came home on a throwing error, Hayes scored on a wild pitch and Frasure trotted home on another miscue.
Tie game. New game.
“They were up three, and here we came back at them,” Conley Wilson said. “I was like, girls, if we can play like this and make it a new ball game every inning, we’ve got a chance. As long as we did not let them blow us completely out of the water, then we could stay and play right with them.”
Back and forth they continued to go, with Boyd County National picking up three runs in the top of the sixth and final inning for a late lead.
Again it was Jacobs with an RBI single and May’s two-run triple for a 9-7 Boyd County National edge.
Russell came back one more time. Washington, Allie Highfield and Howard each scored on wild pitches to lift Russell to a walk-off win.
“They all kinda came in with the ‘Ah, Boyd County’s great’ attitude,” Conley Wilson said of her team, “and they hung in there and they did what Russell does. They just stuck together and played hard the whole game.”
Howard was the winning pitcher of record. She recorded 15 strikeouts in the circle for Russell.
Both teams will advance to the state tournament regardless of today’s outcome.
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BOYD CO. 301 023 — 9 8 4
RUSSELL 311 113 — 10 0 4
Black, B. Jacobs (3) and Bush; Howard and Highfield. W — Howard. L — B. Jacobs. 2B — Bush 2 (BC), May (BC). 3B — May (BC).