Chelsea rallies to beat Spain Park in extra innings
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
HOOVER – Mallory McCarty threw 126 pitches in eight innings of work on a beautiful March 24 afternoon in a losing, extra-inning effort against the visiting Lady Hornets of Chelsea. Opposite McCarty for most of the game was Chelsea ace Caiti Davis, who pitched six innings before being relieved by Sarah Cespedes, who pitched two scoreless innings of relief work. The two Chelsea pitchers combined to throw 128 pitches total, just two more than McCarty threw by herself over the duration of the game.
The contest remained scoreless until the third inning when Chelsea’s Mallory Bradford singled with one out and was brought home three batters later when Alex Smithson knocked a single to center field. The lead would not last long, as Spain Park’s Marley Barnes would hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth which was good enough to bring home Julianna Cross, who was perched on third previously.
With the score tied at one run apiece, Chelsea added another tally to the scoreboard when a pair of leadoff doubles by Riley Coin and Davis, which brought Coin home to make the score 2-1. Spain Park responded in the bottom half of the sixth with two runs of their own when Marley Barnes smacked a triple to left field late in the inning to take a 3-2 lead into the last inning of regulation.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning and a full count, Alex Smithson hit a ball to center field that was mishandled, which allowed Bradford to score from third base. When Spain Park was unable to answer in the bottom of the seventh, the game went into an eighth inning of play.
In the top of the eighth inning Mackenzie Bryant hit a single to center field, which scored Cespedes and gave Chelsea the 4-3 lead. With runners on second and third in the bottom of the eighth inning, Kyandi Tipler sailed a ball to right field, which was caught by Hizler and ended the game.
Spain Park fell to 14-3-2 on the year while Chelsea advanced to 8-7.