Prep Softball: Davie rallies in the seventh to beat Wonders
By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS — A.L. Brown softball coach Scott Rodgers felt like a Sprint Cup guy who started on the pole, dominated the race, and then crashed on the final lap.
A.L. Brown owned the first six innings of Tuesday’s third-round 4A state playoff game, but Davie County turned in a relentless, refuse-to-lose seventh. Down 7-3 and three outs from ending their season, the 20th-seeded War Eagles (18-9) strung together six straight hits, scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch and beat the fifth-seeded Wonders, 9-7.
Davie earned a fourth-round matchup with Central Piedmont Conference rival North Davidson.
“Going to the seventh, we knew we had it in us,” Davie coach Dawn Lowery said. “We told the girls to do it for the seniors, and that inspired them some. They went up to the plate with a purpose.”
Davie’s comeback negated an sensational effort by A.L. Brown slugger Kaitlin Moore. Moore batted four times and launched four rockets. She had three doubles and drove in three runs.
“She destroyed the ball,” Rodgers said.
The Wonders banged out 14 hits, with Kaylee Cook, Allie Baker, Kelly Chrismon and Harlie Taylor getting two each. Davie had 12 hits, with Mackenzie Smith, Jessie Beck and Katelyn Webb getting two each. Davie got a hit from every spot in the lineup.
The Wonders scored three times in the first, as Cook, Baker, Moore and Chrismon delivered consecutive hits against Davie lefty Olivia Boger.
“We came out hot,” Rodgers said. “Getting out of the gate like that was huge.”
Julie Gough headed to the circle for the War Eagles to start the second inning and pitched the rest of the way.
“We’ve got confidence in both our pitchers, but we needed a change,” Lowery said.
Davie turned double plays in the second and third. Gough’s great escape from a second-and-third-no-outs jam in the third was one of the turning points.
RBIs from the No. 8 and No. 9 spots in the lineup pulled Davie within 3-2 in the fourth, but the Wonders answered with a three-run fifth that included RBI-singles by Moore and Brandi Blackmon.
The teams traded runs in the sixth, with Moore smoking a two-out double to the left-field fence for a 7-3 lead for the home team. There was a disputed call at first right before Moore’s double. Had the Wonders gotten that call, it would’ve been 8-3.
“We were in great position,” Rodgers said. “But Davie has one heck of a team, and we knew we were going to have fight all night.”
A.L. Brown lefty Cook, who signed with Catawba, controlled the game for six innings, but the War Eagles produced a series of feisty at-bats in the seventh. Some War Eagles hit the ball hard. Some found a hole.
Bridgett Tierney started the game-winning snowball. Then Anna Devereaux. Next came RBI singles by Sierra Ferguson, Smith, Beck and Webb.
“As a new coach, I’d never been part of a comeback like that,” Lowery said. “That rally just unfolded one hit after another. It was great to see that scoreboard keep changing.”
Webb’s hit made it 7-all, and with two War Eagles on base with no outs, the Wonders called in Ashlynn Stokes from shortstop to pitch.
Stokes almost got out of it with a strikeout and a popup. But with two outs, she fired a wild pitch. Then a throwing error on a come-backer allowed Davie to tack on an insurance run.
The Wonders got a single from Taylor in the bottom of the seventh, but that was all, and the War Eagles celebrated a victory that had looked unlikely after six.
“We’ve been in dogfights in our conference, and that helped,” Lowery said. “The CPC is the best.”
The Wonders (23-4) closed the books on the best season in school history. They went undefeated in the MECKA and did more than anyone anticipated. The Wonders hadn’t dropped a game in two months before Davie came to town.
“We’ve been trying to put something together,” Rodgers said. “And I think we did.”
Davie 000 201 6 — 9 12 1
A.L. Brown 300 031 0 — 7 14 3
W — Julie Gough. L — Kaylee Cook.
Leading hitters — DC: Jessie Beck 2-for-2, Makenzie Smith 2-for-4, Katelyn Webb 2-for-4. ALB: Kaitlin Moore 4-for-4, 3 RBIs, Kelly Chrismon 2-for-2, Cook 2-for-4, Allie Baker 2-for-4, Harlie Taylor 2-for-4.
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