“It was the last home game for my seniors,” Bradley Central head softball coach Christie McElhaney said.
With a 3-3 tie going into the bottom of the seventh, the game came down to the wire, but Bradley Central was able to score the run required to get the 4-3 win over the Lady Panthers.
“We struggled producing our runs to the plate. We got people on, but we didn’t quite bring them across the plate when we needed to,” McElhaney commented. “We got the big hit when we needed to in the end to win the ball game.”
The Bearettes made quick work of Sale Creek in the first inning, never allowing the first three batters to make it to first base.
Mikala Ard got to first thanks to base on balls. Tori Roberts’ follow up bunt resulted in a missed catch by the Lady Panther first baseman, which was enough to get Roberts safely to second while Ard got the first run of the game.
Bradley held on to their one run lead for the next two innings until Sale Creek was able to get a run in the fourth.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Bearettes got their bats going enough to take a two-run lead over the visitors.
With two outs and Chanler Grady positioned at second base, Ard was able to make it safely to first on another missed catch while Grady ran home.
Tori Roberts was walked, and then Von Harrison’s hit to centerfield loaded up the bases.
Abby Abernathy was hit by a pitch, resulting in Ard being walked in for the second run.
Much to the dismay of Bradley, Sale Creek was once again able to tie things up in the sixth inning.
Extra innings loomed on the horizon as the bottom of the seventh got underway.
Roberts got things started with a single with Harrison up to bat next.
Harrison’s single resulted in Roberts getting out at second base.
While Abernathy was up to bat, Harrison successfully stole second and then was able to steal third when the second baseman missed a catch.
Abernathy hit a long drive along the left field line, which drove Harrison home for the game-winning run.
Senior pitcher Allison Conley struck out three Lady Panthers during the win.
District 5-AAA tournament action begins on Friday at 6 p.m. for Bradley Central. They will travel north to take on tournament host Rhea County in what McElhaney expects to be a close game.
During the regular season, the Bearettes split their series with the Lady Eagles.
“We’ve played Rhea tough all season. We beat them here, then went to their place and played 13 innings and lost in the international tiebreaker 11-12. You never know; it depends on what team shows up.”
BEARETTES 4, LADY PANTHERS 1
Sale Creek 000 102 0 — 3 5 3
Bradley Central 100 020 1 — 4 8 6
WP: Allison Conley. Other highlights: Mikala Ard 1-4, 2 runs; Tori Roberts 1-4, RBI; Von Harrison 2-4, run; Abby Abernathy 1-4, RBI; Chanler Grady 2-4, run. Records: Bradley Central 8-17, 4-8 District 5-AAA.