An offensive contribution from an unlikely hero helped propel the Hardin Valley Academy softball team to a historic extra-inning victory on Thursday, April 21.
Hawks catcher Jayden Blosser usually doesn’t hit in the HVA lineup but when she did last week at Farragut, she delivered a clutch single with the bases loaded and broke a 2-2 tie.
Blosser’s hit gave the Hawks a 3-2 lead. Hardin Valley would go on to outlast the Admirals 7-4 in a District 4-AAA game at Bellamy Field. After Blosser drove in the go-ahead run, senior first baseman Kaleigh Wynne hit a grand slam home run to give Hardin Valley a 7-2 lead. The Hawks would hold on to beat the Admirals on the road for the first time in school history.
Wynne’s round-tripper would loom large as Farragut (16-12 overall, 8-4 in District 4-AAA) would score two runs in its half of the eighth inning before the game ended.
“I knew that my teammates needed me and I was able to step up in that situation,” said Blosser, who was replaced by pinch hitter Sydney Blosser (her twin sister) with the game knotted 2-2 in the top of the sixth inning. “I made the decision that I was going to get out of my slump.”
Jayden Blosser usually occupies the flex spot in the lineup and is hit for by the designated player but she came up clutch when called upon in Farragut.
“That hit was really clutch for us,” HVA coach Whitney Hickam-Cruze said. “Then Kaleigh came up and hit the big home run.
“As it turned out, we needed every one of those runs because they scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth.”
Admirals coach David Moore commended Jayden Blosser’s timely single.
“She got a big hit,” Moore said. “Hardin Valley has been playing better lately. They’re playing loose because they know where they’re going to end up in the district.
“We had our chances and we missed some opportunities.”
Farragut also picked up a key hit in the extra frame from Morgan Stapleton. The senior designated player had a two-run double that plated Delaney Weller and Kayla Hindle to make the score 7-4. Hindle was serving as a courtesy runner for pitcher Callie Moore, who walked to start the final rally for the Admirals.
Stapleton said that she needed to make the most of her opportunity.
“I don’t have a lot of playing time this year but I’m ready to do what I can when he needs me,” Stapleton said. “I want to be helpful to the team when I can.”
After Stapleton doubled, Emma Geron struck out. Niki Slone walked. Both Slone and Stapleton advanced when HVA relief pitcher Mikaela Chavis uncorked a wild pitch, putting both runners in scoring position. Chavis, who replaced starter Emalee McCord in the circle, struck out Andrea Sarhatt and induced a groundout from Lexee Lamoree to end the game.
Hickam-Cruze said that both McCord and Chavis have improved since being forced to pitch since Wynne broke a finger on her pitching hand.
“Every time Emalee and Mikaela pitch, we see improvement,” Hickam-Cruze said. “Emalee and Mikaela both pitched well today.
McCord surrendered two runs, eight hits in a walk while recording eight strikeouts before leaving the circle after issuing a walk to Slone to start the bottom of the seventh. Chavis, who struck out three, slammed the door on the Admirals in the inning and was able to withstand Farragut’s last gasp in the extra frame.
HVA (16-10, 7-5) took a 1-0 lead with two outs in the top of the first shortstop Jodie Parham singled in Chavis, reached on a single earlier in the inning.
Parham, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, extended the Hawks’ edge to 2-0 when a hit plated Wynne, who singled.
“The coaches talked all week about how we’ve never beaten Farragut in Farragut,” Parham said. “We played well together today.
“I think we play better when we play for each other.”
The Admirals pulled within 2-1 in the bottom of the third on an RBI single by Mary Claire Coyne.
Callie Moore scored singled and scored the tying run in the fourth when Geron grounded out.
Hardin Valley continued its winning ways Friday with a dramatic 6-5 comeback victory over Powell at home Friday night.
The Panthers took a 5-0 lead after three innings before HVA bats came alive. The Hawks scored six runs over the final three innings, including two in the bottom of the seventh to emerge victorious.
Beacham, Wynne and McCord each had doubles for Hardin Valley (17-10) and Wynne scored the winning run after doubling home the tying run.
Freshman Jasmine Goodman drove in two runs for the Hawks.
Hickam-Cruze said her squad struggled against Powell early.
“I think we came out a little flat early and it took a little while for us to get going,” she said. “Sometimes, that happens after you play a big game the day before.”