The seventh inning is not a good time to fall apart. Especially not in the state tournament and especially not when the score is tied 3-3.
But No. 17 seed Blue Ridge was able to unravel No. 16 seed Morenci Thursday night with seven runs in the last inning to cinch a 10-3 win in the Division III softball tournament at Rose Mofford Sports Complex.
In fact, Blue Ridge (16-13) scored seven runs on five hits, with four errors, to finish the game.
Blue Ridge pitcher junior Heather Johnson said she knew after her team was up by seven runs she just needed to hold Morenci off for the bottom of the inning.
“I just wanted to hold them so they wouldn’t get anymore runs,” Johnson said. “I wanted the game to be over with. It was actually pretty surprising. They’re a pretty good team.”
Johnson said the team traveled too far to lose the game.
“It was a three-hour ride,” Johnson said. “We made it this morning. Afterwards we got out and warmed up on a different field and stretched out.”
Blue Ridge started the game with an early three-run lead in the second. Morenci answered those three runs with three of its own, one scored in the bottom of the second and the other two in the fifth.
Then Morenci (23-6-1) came undone with error after error leading to run after run. Blue Ridge scored two runs when a ball was in and out of the right fielder’s glove. It then scored another two when the same thing happened to the center fielder. Morenci also had a ball go between the second baseman’s legs for another run.
All in all, Johnson said Blue Ridge’s win may have been late. However, having been to state for the past three years, she is certain the team can triumph over others.
“We play the number one, Empire High School, next,” Johnson said. “We need to get mentally ready.”