By REID TUCKER
As sports drama goes, there’s nothing like a comeback.
The Walton Lady Braves (11-6) found out firsthand on the evening of April 11, when their Senior Night contest against Ponce de Leon (7-8) nearly went the way of the 2A visiting team. The Lady Pirates vaulted to an early lead after three at-bats’ worth of hits, wild pitches and errors from the home club made it a 4-0 ballgame. Then, in the bottom of the third, things got a little more interesting.
Freshman Jamie Lamb singled while senior Kaitlyn Green and Jade Larrick reached on doubles to put two Walton runs on the scoreboard, while a PDL fielding error brought in another run. The score was knotted 4-all two innings later, and Walton took a 6-4 lead going into the sixth inning after a pair of sacrifice flies – one from Shyy Walker and another from Taylor Butler – put Walton in the black. Ponce de Leon fired back with a fifth run in the subsequent at-bat. Walton, however, swiftly made some elbow room when sophomore Kiki Bogart clobbered her second home run of the week over the fence and into the ditch to make the score 7-5.
Though Kayla Jackson would also go on to reach first on a hit, Walton’s effort to add to its score before the Lady Pirates’ final turn at the plate were squashed when she was stranded at the plate to end the sixth inning. Ponce’s Chelsea Watson singled and Jordan Lee was hit by a stray pitch – the third such instance of the night for the beleaguered Pirate batter – but both of them ended up stranded when the next two batters hit pop flies for easy outs. Lady Braves senior Raven Motley made one of the game-winning catches.
On the statistical front, Hydle picked up the win with two strikeouts and three walks while allowing five hits. Ponce de Leon used two pitchers in the game. The starter, eighth-grader Devyn Butorac, gave up five hits and walked two batters before being retired and replaced on the mound by sophomore Lee, who allowed another five hits and walked one batter in two innings of work.
The leading hitters on the night were Bogart, Green and Lamb, who went 2-for-3, 2-for-3 and 2-for-4, respectively, for the Lady Braves. The Lady Pirates’ best hitter on the night was Watson, who went 2-for-4 with two singles, but she reached on a Walton error in her first appearance at the plate. All seven of Walton’s runs were scored by different players.
By REID TUCKER