After a tough 8-3 loss to Crawford County on Monday, the Lady Knights hit the road to Macon for their first Region 2 game of the season, where they played the Lady Huskies from Howard High School.
After seven long innings, it was two freshmen for the Lady Knights who saved the day. Briana Hendricks and Olivia Lindsey each belted RBI singles with two outs, as the Lady Knights scored four times in the top of the seventh inning to beat the Lady Huskies 10-9.
“We have a team motto, ‘be hard to beat,’” said head coach Stephen Hammock. “I think Tuesday’s win over Howard was an example of Upson-Lee showing up and refusing to lose. We trailed by three runs going into the sixth inning, and we scored three to tie. Going into the seventh inning, we had three outs to score at least three runs to keep from losing, and we scored four to take the lead. We kept them from scoring in the seventh to seal the win. We’ve developed another saying which is simple, ‘Win any way.’” Simply put, we strive to win any way. Get the job done despite any mistakes we may make.”
Upson-Lee senior Chelsea Wainwright was the starting pitcher for the Lady Knights, and thanks to a base hit by Rachel Bridges and a RBI base hit from Montana Schug, Wainwright had a 1-0 lead as she started the bottom of the first inning.
The game remained 1-0 in favor of Upson-Lee until the bottom of the second inning. Howard tallied three hits and scored one run in the inning. After tying the game, the Lady Huskies had runners on second and third with just one out, but Wainwright was able to get out of the inning without further damage.
In the top of the third inning, Upson-Lee broke the 1-1 tie with two more runs. Mary Masdon McCrary was hit by a pitch, followed by Bridges’ second hit of the game. Hannah Watson then walked, and Wainwright drove home McCrary with a RBI single. Bethany Smith also drove home another run with a RBI single, scoring Bridges and giving the Lady Knights a 3-1 lead.
Unfortunately, Howard would tie the game up again at 3-3 in the bottom of the third inning, taking advantage of a fielding error and racking up three hits.
The Lady Knights would go through the fourth and fifth innings without scoring a run, and by the time the sixth inning rolled around, they were trailing by a 6-3 score. However, in the top of the sixth inning Smith tallied a solid base knock and then stole second base. The Lady Knights added two walks and two more stolen bases in the inning and then it was Briana Hendricks, who entered the game to pitch in the fourth inning to pitch, belting a RBI base hit to tie the game up at 6-6.
But, as they had done in the innings past, the Lady Huskies answered with runs of their own. Another error and a walk from Upson-Lee proved to be costly, as Howard also racked up two hits, including a triple, to take a 9-6 lead over Upson-Lee.
With their backs against the wall, the Lady Knights started the last inning off with Bridges connecting on her third hit of the game. Watson followed with a hit, and Wainwright reached on an error, scoring Bridges.
The Lady Knights trailed 9-7 with two outs, but Hendricks and Olivia Lindsey each came through with RBI base hits, as the Lady Knights scored four runs in the inning, taking a 10-9 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Hendricks gave up one hit, but finished the game unscathed, giving the Lady Knights their first region victory of the season. The win pushes the Lady Knights’ record to 5-3 and 1-0 in region play.
“To begin region play with a win was huge,” said Hammock. “All games are important, but the region games are the ones that you have to win in order to make it to the land of milk and honey. One of our team goals is to make it to the state playoffs, and winning region games gets us there. Beating Howard was a step of many to get where we want to be. Despite our poor play and the mishaps, we were the better team and played just well enough to win. We overcame ourselves to win the game.”
Rachel Bridges paced the Lady Knights with three hits and three runs scored. Olivia Lindsey, Briana Hendricks, and Bethany Smith each tallied two hits, a run scored, and a RBI. Chelsea Wainright and Montana Schug each added a hit and RBI, while Hannah Watson finished the game with one hit.
The Lady Knights took on Brookstone on Thursday, but the results of that game were not available by press time. Look in Tuesday’s edition of The Times for a full game recap.