Prep Softball: East Rowan 3, South Rowan 2, 8 innings

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 20, 2012

By Mike London
GRANITE QUARRY — East Rowan catcher Bobbi Thomas, a slugger not a sprinter, couldn’t believe her eyes.
She’d just lined a screamer over the head of South Rowan right fielder Emma Pope to start the bottom of the eighth, and Mike Waddell was asking her for a leadoff triple.
“If I get to third, I’m usually just jogging on a home run,” Thomas said with a grin. “But Waddell kept waving for me to come on over there.”
Thomas made it to third in a cloud of dust, and courtesy runner Lara Drew came home shortly after that to lift East to a 3-2 NPC victory.
Drew scored when Ally Mills hit a flyball to right-center that center fielder Kayla Corriher couldn’t get to with a dive. Even if Corriher had made the grab, Drew would’ve been able to tag up and score.
The extra-inning struggle featured strong efforts by East pitcher Sydney Poole and by the South circle combo of Logan Lowery and Leah McCoy, but it ended in familiar heartbreak for the sixth-place Raiders (5-13, 3-7).
“It’s been like this all season,” South coach Barry West said. “We keep putting ourselves in position to win against good teams, but one or two plays beat us. We’ve lost nine times by one run.”
Pope and Corriher scored on a throwing error on Kaitlyn Jones’ bouncer in the third for a 2-0 South lead, but Thomas got East (8-3 NPC) even in the fourth when she walloped a mammoth homer with Steffi Sides on base.
Corriher made the play of day when she turned a wicked drive to the fence off Poole’s bat in the second inning into a big-time double play.
Both teams squandered numerous scoring chances.
South looked ready to break through in the top of the eighth when a walk to Pope, Corriher’s single and Jones’ bunt filled the bases with none out, but Poole got out of the jam unscathed with a groundball for a forceout at the plate and a shallow flyball to left.
Corriher tried to score on the flyball, but Mills fired home, and Thomas came up the line to snag the ball and make a forceful tag.
“We made plays we had to make today,” Waddell said.
East, which has no seniors, secured a second-place finish in the NPC regular season.
“We’ve had moments of being sharp and looking like we could play with anybody,” Waddell said. “But we’ve also had our dull moments.”
Poole, given the huge task of replacing All-State Chelsea White in the circle, has kept the Mustangs near the top.
“Sydney’s had real big shoes to fill,” Thomas said. “She’s done a fantastic job.”