Thompson walks off against area foe Hoover in extra innings
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor
ALABASTER – With one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning, Abby Kellogg stepped to the plate looking to drive in the game-winning walk-off run in an area matchup with Hoover on Wednesday, March 13, after allowing the Buccaneers to tie the game an inning before.
Kellogg settled into the batter’s box, and with only one out and the bases loaded she was able to be aggressive. On the first pitch she saw, Kellogg drove the ball high and just deep enough to right field to allow pinch runner Haley Kennedy sprint home for a walk-off victory.
Thompson (11-1, 1-0) went into the top of the seventh with a 4-2 lead, and looked to have the game in hand after a second out was recorded. Down to their final out, with a Harper Niblett on second base, Campbell Hecklinski stepped up and locked into a battle with Thompson pitcher Eleanor DeBlock.
The at bat featured nine pitches and a lot of action. On the fifth pitch of the at bat, Niblett took off for third and thanks to an error from the catcher, she was able to round third and come home to bring Hoover to within a run of tying the game.
Hecklinski then continued to battle fouling off three more pitches and watching a third ball to create a full count. Then, on the ninth pitch of the at bat, she drove the pitch she wanted deep to left field and over the wall for a game-tying home run.
Thompson then went 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning, but Hoover only put one more base runner aboard in the top of the eighth, which allowed the Warriors to close the game out in the home half of the extra inning.
Grace Robertson and Mikayla Touhey led the inning off with back-to-back singles to quickly put two baserunners aboard.
After a pop out put the first out on the board, Lauren Cabiness stepped to the plate and set into a battle of her own. After falling behind in the county 1-2, she fouled off two more balls before watching three more balls to earn a hard-fought walk that loaded the bases.
That set the stage for Kellogg, as well as Kennedy who was put in as a pinch runner for Robertson and then proceeded to score the game-winning run.
Hoover actually struck first in the game with two runs in the top of the first thanks to an RBI-single and a sac fly, but a pitching change made a big difference for the Warriors.
DeBlock came in and didn’t just finish the game out, but pitched the final 7 2/3 innings in the circle to earn the win. She allowed just five hits and two runs, while striking out five batters.
After the Bucs put two runs on the board in the top half of the first, Thompson came to the plate and answered in a big way in the home half.
The Warriors put two runners aboard quickly on a single from Kindall DeRamus and an error that allowed Lauren Haskins to reach base safely.
After a pop out, Robertson and Touhey stepped up and hit back-to-back doubles to drive in a combined three runs to quickly put Thompson on top 3-2 through one inning of play.
Thompson added one more run, which the Warriors hoped would be an insurance run, when Cabiness singled in Robertson in the bottom of the third, and while the 4-2 lead didn’t hold up, it gave the offense the confidence it needed later in the game.
At the plate, Robertson had an impressive game going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Cabiness went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Touhey was 2-for-4 with an RBI. DeRamus also picked up two hits in the win, while Hakins added one.