Eagles, Griffins battle on the diamond

Melody Belton makes the throw to first. | Martha Ladd

WINNSBORO – The Fairfield Central Griffins visited their cross-town rival Richard Winn on Tuesday, and what proceeded was an epic battle that saw over 40 runs scored. Richard Winn jumped on the early lead before a massive swing in momentum gave the Griffins an 11-run edge, but the Eagles snatched the lead back in the bottom of the sixth. Fairfield plated three runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game at 21, but Meredith Pope scored on passed ball in the bottom of the inning for the 22-21 Eagle win. Both teams sported a 12-run inning.

“It was extremely hard,” Griffins head coach Krysten Spearman said. “Just us having an 11-run lead and losing the lead with us having two outs was very hard. Our girls hit the ball and our defense was really solid. The communication was there. I see some leadership on the field so we’re slowly getting to where we need to be.”

Richard Winn controlled the beginning of the contest. Leadoff hitter Riley Simpson reached base on a walk, then Samantha Wilkes followed up with a single. Meredith Pope brought home both runners with a triple, then an error in the field opened up a chance for Pope to finish rounding the bases.

The Griffins’ bats were silenced in the first two innings. Richard Winn’s Emma Castles knocked in Hannah Smith in the bottom of the second, and Simpson brought home Castles in the next at bat. RWA was up 5-0 after two.

Meredith Pope slides into home. | Photos/Martha Ladd

Fairfield got one of their runs back in the top of the third. Makayla Gaines singled and scored after walk and Madisen Belton singled. Richard Winn had three singles of their own and kept the Griffins at bay with two more runs.

The Griffins jerked the lead back with their 12-run fourth inning. They had three hits, including a Belton double, but the Eagles walked two and committed seven errors. Asia Williams and Gaines singled in the top of the fifth, and the Griffins padded their lead with five more runs.

Relief pitcher Meredith Pope blanked the Griffins in the top of half six, and the Eagles were down to their final six outs when they exploded for 12 runs in the bottom of the sixth. Caleigh Caldwell singled to start the storm, then Hannah Smith walked. Later in the inning with one out, Emy Russell singled. The Griffins allowed two more walks and four more hits before the inning was over.

Fairfield trailed 21-18 going into the top of the seventh. Kavona Rice singled to start off the inning and scored on a bases-loaded walk later in the inning. Passed balls allowed Belton and Zendora Jeter to score and knot the game up at 21.

Wilkes led off the bottom of the seventh for RWA. She knocked in a single but was later tagged out going for home. Pope followed Wilkes up with another single. Gracie Atkerson flew out without driving home the game-winning run, but later in the inning, Pope scored the walk off run after a passed ball at the plate.

“It teaches them that we can come back at any time, no matter what,” Eagles head coach Candace Cadieu said. “The girls just did great and it gave them a good chance to learn and grow.”

FCHS:  0-0-1-12-5-0-3–21

RWA: 3-2-2-0-2-12-1-22

WP: Meredith Pope (RWA)

Hitters:

FCHS: 1B – Asia Williams (2), Makayla Gaines (3), Kavona Rice (2), Madisen Belton (2), Melody Belton, Neveah Sease, V.Pete (2). RWA: Riley Simpson (2), Samantha Wilkes (3), Meredith Pope (2), Gracie Atkerson (2), Jenn Haney, Caleigh Caldwell (3), Hannah Smith (2),Emma Castles, Anna Taylor, Emy Russell (3)  (RWA).2B – M Belton (FCHS). Emma Castles (RWA). 3B – Meredith Pope.

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