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Lady Pats snap losing streak with heroic seventh-inning rally; end season at Region X tourney with loss to Richard Bland

May 7, 2016

BURLINGTON, N.C. — Down to potentially its final three outs of the season, the Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) softball team staged a seventh-inning comeback at arguably the best time.

The Lady Patriots ended a 16-game losing streak Saturday (May 7) with a thrilling 7-6 victory over Surry Community College in the Region X softball tournament. After losing in the tournament opener the day before to Pasco-Hernando State College (Fla.), PHCC faced a long road Saturday in an attempt to reach the final, but made sure it wouldn’t go two-and-done in the morning.

The Lady Pats scored three runs in the final inning, avoiding the season sweep to the Knights, which won all four regular season meetings.

“We knew if we lost we were going home, and for us sophomores we didn’t want it to be that game,” sophomore infielder Hailey Williams said. “We never wanted to win a game so bad in our life, honestly.”

Freshman Ebony Reynolds hit a bases clearing one-out triple to center, giving PHCC its first lead since the third inning. Williams started the rally with a single to left field. She had multiple hits in the game as did Krista Smith behind her, who doubled in the go-ahead run in the third.

Reynolds, along with fellow freshman Abby Williams, also recorded multi-hit games as the Patriots had only one of their hitters in the lineup fail to reach base.

“It was an amazing feeling, and the whole game we were loud and everybody had their whole heart in it, and I hadn’t seen that all year,” said sophomore infielder Maddy Gauldin, who scored the eventual winning run. “We didn’t want to end the season losing two games and be done.”

The momentum, however, didn’t fully carry over to the next elimination game of the day as Richard Bland College erased a 6-4 deficit with a five-run, fifth inning, batting around in the process. The Statesmen would then add four more runs in the sixth to salt the game away, 13-6, scoring nine times over their final two at bats.

PHCC struck first with two runs in the opening inning as Williams scored the first of her two runs in the game on a passed ball. The first-team All-Region X selection finished with two hits in the contest and completed a stellar two seasons at PHCC with four hits on the day, scoring three runs and driving in one.

Richard Bland tied the game in the first before taking a one-run lead the next inning and tacking on another run in the third. PHCC then took its second lead of the game with a four-run, fourth inning spearheaded by the bottom third of the order. Kayla Hailey started things with a walk, followed by a Meagan Wilson single and a Chris Harris fielder’s choice that included an error, helping tie the game. Williams then broke the tie with a double to left and later scored on an Abby Williams ground out.

The Statesmen retook the lead for good by sending 10 batters to the plate in the fifth inning.

In the tournament opener against Pasco-Hernando, the Region 8 representative held the Patriots to just one hit — a Gauldin single in the fifth — in a 3-0 win. PHCC had a hard time generating offense against PHSC pitcher Clarissa Lyndn, who struck out 12. PHSC scored all three of its runs in the third inning, opening the frame with three straight hits.

Hailey allowed seven hits and struck out four in the loss.

The Lady Pats finished the season 4-25.

“To have everyone come together in the end was a good feeling,” said Gauldin said, a second-team All-Region X selection. “We know the wins weren’t there like they should’ve been, and we had a lot of close games all year, just couldn’t pull them out. But, we still had a great season my sophomore year even if we didn’t have that many wins.”

Filed under: Softball

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