Trailing 3-0, the Lakota West Firebirds stormed back with a five-run sixth inning en route to a 6-3 win against Mason Wednesday at Mason Middle School.
The Firebirds – No. 1 in The Enquirer’s coaches’ poll – scored five runs in the inning on four hits and on one momentous error.
“We played great through six innings, but we didn’t finish,” Mason head coach Liann Muff said. “When you don’t finish against a good team, that is what happens.”
The Firebirds got on the board when a ground ball hit by sophomore outfielder Kat Burbrink scored two runs after Mason second baseman Taylor Stewart threw the ball past her first baseman.
A few batters later, Lakota West sophomore pitcher Ashley Sharp broke a 3-3 tie by driving in two runs on a double to right-center field.
“It shows a lot about the girls…a little adversity set in and they responded,” Lakota West head coach Keith Castner said. “That is a credit to the girls concentrating and believing in themselves.”
Sharp, who walked five batters and hit three others, came through when it matter.
“Being only a sophomore, she has just done a great job for us this year as a pitcher and as a hitter,” Castner said of Sharp, who improved her record to 10-2 on the year. “When she hits the ball she hits it hard and she just comes through.”
It appeared for most of the game, that Mason sophomore pitcher Sarah Browning was going to be the one to lead her team to victory.
After allowing the first batter to reach on a double to begin the game, Browning retired 13 straight hitters. Through five innings, she had only given up two hits, struck out four batters and walked none.
She also got run support, with the Comets scoring a run in the fourth inning off a double by junior rightfielder Macy Hubbard and two more in the fifth by a way of a two-run home run over the centerfield fence by senior catcher Margo Hutchison.
“We have yet to play our best game by any stretch,” Muff said. “Until we can string together an entire game, this up and down is going to continue to happen. We just have to get mentally tougher and put together seven innings.”
Meanwhile, the Firebirds added an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning when sophomore Madison Bridges collided with Hutchison at home plate. The collision jarred the ball out of Hutchison’s glove and forced the senior catcher to leave the game. The severity of her injury was unknown at the end of the contest.
Despite the loss, Mason – No. 4 in The Enquirer’s poll – came close to being the first team from the Greater Miami Conference to defeat the Firebirds.
“We are so solid,” Sharp said of her teammates, who are now 8-0 in the GMC. “We get along so well, which is great because some teams have a lot of drama. Everyone here just likes each other.”
W-Sharp (10-2, 4 K’s). Browning (3-4). Leaders: M-Hubbard 2B, RBI; Hutchison HR, 2 RBIs. L – Hedric 2 2Bs; Sharp 2-3, 2B, 2 RBIs, Burbrink RBI, Bridges 2 runs. Lakota West 11-3, 8-0 GMC. Mason 6-6, 5-3 GMC.