Miranda Barker wasn’t surprised that her South Granville softball team exploded for a five-hit, five-run sixth inning to dump Orange, 6-2, at the 18th Annual Southern Alamance Patriot Eastern Invitational Saturday night.
“We’re better at coming back than getting ahead,” said Barker, whose sterling 16-0 record matches her team’s season totals. “It shows that we can get down, and then come right back to maintain our title spot as the winners.”
Although the tournament was hours behind schedule on the night before Easter, a large crowd remained to see this clash of the titans, with the unbeaten Vikings shooting for a third consecutive 2A state title this season, and the undefeated 3A Panthers dueling in the nightcap. They didn’t go away disappointed as the lead shifted hands three times.
“You get a run ahead, then they go up one. The biggest thing is they’ll bend a little bit but they don’t break, and they know what’s expected,” Vikings coach Walter Day said of his players’ comeback win. “They know how to play together for each other, and play for the kid beside them, not necessarily play for themselves.”
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The Vikings took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth when first baseman Renee Boone smacked an RBI single to center to score left fielder Brianne Coleman.
The Panthers struggled against Barker, managing just two hits after the first five innings. But they took a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth when shortstop Abby Hamlett walloped a triple, and catcher Mia Davidson and center fielder Alysann Lloyd doubled.
But South Granville’s bats came alive in the bottom of the inning, and the wheels fell off the wagon for Orange.
It turned out to be a bad omen for Orange when Boone belted a one-out, bad-hop single off the chest of second baseman Hayley Funk to launch the five-run rally. South Granville ended up sending 10 batters to the plate, roughing up Orange pitcher Kristina Givens for five hits and a walk, while the Panthers committed one error and made some questionable throwing choices.
Givens, and Orange, fell to 12-1 on the season.