Smith’s walk-off double lifts Chelsea past Oak Mountain
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor
CHELSEA – After overcoming two separate deficits in the final two innings to tie a game with Oak Mountain and force extra innings on Tuesday, Feb. 26, the Chelsea Hornets completed the comeback effort in the bottom of the eighth inning.
In front of the home crowd, Camryn Smith stepped to the plate with no outs following a single from Chloe Eidson in the bottom of the first extra inning. Down in an 0-1 count, Smith took no chances with the second pitch she saw and drove a line drive to right field that gave the right fielder trouble and allowed Eidson to score all the way from first and give the Hornets a walk-off victory to remain undefeated on the season.
Smith and Eidson were the two biggest highlights for Chelsea in the win, as the late-game heroics weren’t their only accomplishments. Eidson finished the game 3-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored, while Smith went 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI, as both played major roles in the comeback effort.
After a quiet first three innings to the game with only four combined baserunners between the two teams due to impressive pitching, Oak Mountain finally found some success offensively in the top of the fourth.
Dawn Autry and Abi Brown quickly made noise in the inning thanks to a single and double, respectively. That was followed by a line-drive single from M’Kiyah Mitchell to drive both baserunners in for a 2-0 advantage.
Oak Mountain was able to put one more runner aboard and eventually had two runners in scoring position later in the inning, but couldn’t capitalize with another run.
That lead held up for a good while, as the Eagles looked to be in good shape heading to the bottom of the sixth inning having not allowed a run to that point.
That changed in just three batters, however.
Chelsea got two baserunners aboard quickly in the sixth thanks to a leadoff single from Ingram Holt, before Olivia Bergert was hit by a pitch to put two runners on.
Then Skylar Baker stepped to the plate, and down in the count 0-2, she took the third pitche she saw and doubled to center field to drive Holt home for the Hornets’ first run of the game.
While Bergert was thrown out trying to advance to third, Baker scored shortly after thanks to Eidson stepping to the plate and hitting a hard deep ground ball to third base, which allowed Baker to come home and tie the game at 2-2 despite ending in a ground out.
Now tied going to the top of the seventh, Oak Mountain came back with a big answer after being faced with some adversity.
With two outs in the inning and runners on first and second, Emily Hart stepped to the plate and hit a deep fly ball to center field that got down for a double and brought Brown home for the go-ahead run at 3-2.
Now, heading to the bottom of the sixth, Chelsea needed another big comeback.
With two outs and Meleah Craft and Tyler Erwin on first and second, Bergert stepped to the plate with the Hornets down to their last out.
Bergert watched a ball and a strike to start the at bat, but on the third pitch, she hit a line drive to center field that found the grass and allowed Craft to score narrowly beating out the throw from center field to tie the game 3-3 and force extra innings.
Oak Mountain threatened in the top half of the eighth with two singles, but ultimately ended up with no runs crossing the plate, which allowed the Hornets to pull off the thrilling walk-off victory in the bottom half of the inning.
Behind Eidson and Smith, Bergert and Baker both picked up hits and RBIs for Chelsea, while Karson Rich, Craft and Holt all added hits as well.
Abigail Bryars tossed 4 1/3 innings in the circle and allowed six hits, two runs and one walk, while striking out three. Erwin came in to relieve her and tossed 3 2/3 innings and allowed seven hits, one run and one walk, while picking up a game-high five strikeouts.
Oak Mountain was led by Autry and Brown at the plate as both went 3-for-5 with a combined three runs scored. Mitchell posted a team-high two RBIs with one hit. Hart and Clara Fuller added two hits, while Riley Sullivan and Grace Hummel each added a hit as well.
Makenzie Price pitched one inning and allowed one hit, while Lacy Marty pitched six innings for the Eagles and allowed nine hits and four runs with four strikeouts.