Watkins Memorial softball stuns rival with wild rally

Watkins Memorial softball stuns rival with wild rally

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Watkins Memorial softball stuns rival with wild rally

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Watkins Memorial’s Baylee Small slides under Licking Heights’ Kayla Myrthil at second base Friday during Watkins’ 14-11 victory. The Warriors trailed 11-3 in the fifth inning before rallying.

Watkins Memorial’s Baylee Small slides under Licking Heights’ Kayla Myrthil at second base Friday during Watkins’ 14-11 victory. The Warriors trailed 11-3 in the fifth inning before rallying.

It was easy to say following Friday’s incredible comeback.

Watkins Memorial’s players, however, were not spouting off false bravado. The Warriors truly believed they were never finished against visiting Licking Heights, and they turned that belief into reality.

Watkins scored 11 unanswered runs to beat its rival 14-11 in Licking County League play. The Warriors (3-2, 3-2) scored six in the bottom of the fifth and five in the sixth to stun the Hornets (1-2, 1-2).

“Our team has always kind of been the comeback kids,” junior shortstop Jayden Johnson said. “It’s really great having everyone up on the bench and supporting the team. … The support that our team has not only on the field but also off the field put a big factor into winning tonight.”

Johnson had a two-run single preceding Anna Shroyer’s three-run home run to center to cut a previously eight-run deficit to 11-9 in the fifth inning.

“It was really those girls before me that were able to go up and hit those balls,” Shroyer said. “In my head, I was thinking, ‘OK, I am just going to get a single.'”

After freshman reliever Carly Brandon threw a scoreless sixth, Watkins completed its comeback. The first run scored on an error, and Baylee Small and Carly Brandon then scored on wild pitches to give Watkins its first lead since 1-0.

Johnson followed with an RBI single to provide an insurance run, and she later scored from second on a Shroyer groundout to shortstop.

“I wish we would start a little bit sooner,” said Watkins’ coach Mike Jellison, whose team erased a 7-0 deficit before falling 13-7 to Johnstown on Monday.

“We wait until the fifth or sixth inning to get things started. They started adjusting and timing the speed. Once we got (Heights pitcher Jessica Gunter) timed up, we hit her pretty well. That has been our motto all year: ‘Never quit.'”

Brandon threw another scoreless inning to complete the victory. On the final play, Kelli Wright grabbed Katie Palombaro’s long flyball in deep left, and the relay throw was in time to double off the Heights runner.

Brandon allowed six runs in her first two innings before settling down to earn the victory. Small had two hits and scored three runs, and Miranda Warner added two hits. Shroyer and Johnson combined for nine RBI.

“You don’t really have to say anything,” Shroyer said. “We all know that we can come back and that we can never give up. There was nothing really said, but it was just the atmosphere in the dugout, saying hey, we could do this. We can come back.”

Cearra Smith had four hits, including a home run and a double, and two runs scored and two RBI, Georganna Pendexter three hits and two RBI, Caitlin Aitken three hits and Gunter two hits and two RBI for Heights.

ksnyder@newarkadvocate.com

740-328-8556

Twitter: @newarkurt

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Watkins Memorial softball stuns rival with wild rally
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