ER stays alive

Kaitlyn Mullins

Thursday night the Eastern Randolph Lady Wildcats hosted the South Granville Vikings for the fifth round of the 2A state championship. This was game two of the best of three East Regional Finals.

Eastern Randolph started strong defensively forcing the Lady Vikings to go three up three down in the top of the first inning. Courtnee Carter got things going offensive with a solo hit to start the bottom of the inning. The Vikings’ defense gained back to back outs before Savannah Beaver picked up an RBI single to score Carter and put the Lady Cats on the board. ER soon took a 3-0 lead off a two-run home run from Kelsey Craven. South Granville got the final out as Eastern Randolph led 3-0 after one complete inning.

South Granville started the top of the second with a triple. As the Wildcats got their first out, the runner at third tagged up to put the Vikings on the board. Eastern Randolph finished out the inning leaving one runner stranded as Beaver struck out back to back batters. Jessica McNeil led off the bottom of the second with a base hit before Gerrilyn Milligan added a base hit to put runners at first and second. South Granville held both runners on base to get out of the inning. After two complete innings, the score was 3-1 in favor of Eastern Randolph.

Beaver struck out the first batter of the third inning before giving up a double to Jenna Curry. Jordan Talley laid down the bunt to advance the runner, but Eastern Randolph held both runners to get themselves out of the inning. The Lady Vikings picked up two quick outs to start the bottom of the inning before a double from Beaver kept the inning alive for the Wildcats. Beaver was left stranded as the Vikings got the final out of the inning. Eastern Randolph continued to lead 3-1 after three innings of play.

Savannah Thompson made contact with the ball for a base hit to start the top of the fourth for the Lady Vikings. The Wildcats earned back to back outs to put pressure on South Granville. Grace Calus picked up a double but was held at second as the Lady Cats earned the final out of the inning. In the bottom of the fourth, McNeil took ball four for a walk but was left on base. After four innings, Eastern Randolph held onto their 3-1 lead.

Beaver started the top of the fifth with another strikeout before giving up back to back base hits to Curry and Paige Strickland. The Cats left both runners stranded to get out of the inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Carter led things off with a walk. Aniyah King made contact for a solo hit to put Carter in scoring position. Brooklyn Rush slammed the ball deep into the outfield for a two-RBI triple that sent Carter and King home. After one out Rush stole home to give the Wildcats a 6-1 lead. After five complete innings, Eastern Randolph led 6-1.

With one out in the top of the sixth, Renee Boone and Calus picked up back to back base hits. Taking one for the team to load the bases was Bailey Nelson. The Lady Vikings scored on a bases-clearing double from Brooke Bowling. Continuing the rally was Curry as she hit a double. Talley kept the bat alive with an RBI single to cut the lead to one.  With two outs, Ally Goss made contact as she cleared the bases to give the Vikings a 7-6 lead. The Vikings were able to hold their lead as they finished the inning by forcing the Lady Cats to go three up three down.

In the top of the seventh, the Wildcats picked up an out right away before giving up a base hit to Calus. With two outs, Kaitlyn Goss picked up an RBI single to send Calus home making it an 8-6 game. Eastern Randolph finished out the inning leaving a runner stranded. Leading things off in the bottom of the seventh was Beaver as she drew a walk. Craven made contact with the ball for a double before an RBI double from Hall tied the game at eight all. With two outs, Carter came to the plate for a walk-off RBI single to give Eastern Randolph 9-8 win over South Granville. The win by the Wildcats evens the best of three series at one game apiece. The deciding game three will be played on Friday at 7:00 PM at South Granville.

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