High school softball: Tates Creek pulls out 'character' win over Madison Central

mmaloney@herald-leader.comApril 23, 2014 

Coach John Groft called it a "character" win.

And a sweet win it was as Bailey Skaggs' RBI-single capped a three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh Wednesday, lifting Tates Creek over visiting Madison Central 11-10.

The Lady Commodores (5-8) had lost five of their previous six, and hadn't beaten Central for nearly a decade.

"Madison Central, they're a great team and they're probably one of the top two or three teams in our region," Groft said. "I was just told that's the first time we've beaten them in nine years, and that's a big accomplishment for us."

The Indians (14-8) had a nine-game winning streak snapped.

"We kind of came out flat tonight," Coach Daniel Rogers said. "We still hit the ball well, but we were just slow-moving on defense."

Breeann Whitson started Creek's winning rally, leading off the seventh with a double. A walk, strikeout and infield single loaded the bases with one out. Mary Carter Downing singled in a run to cut Central's lead to 10-9.

Kendall Fields followed with her third hit of the game, a run-scoring single down the right-field line. "I was just praying," Fields said.

That left it to Skaggs, who stroked a single through the left side of the infield for the walkoff win.

"I had to have confidence in myself and my team," Skaggs said. "They had confidence in me that I could do it."

Skaggs gave a fist pump as she neared first base. "I was so excited," she said.

Central led 3-0 and 7-2 in the early going, but Creek came back with three spots in the third and fourth innings to take an 8-7 lead.

Central plated two runs in the sixth and another in the top of the seventh before Creek answered one more time.

"It just takes character like that to know that when we're down that way, we know we have the bats to come back and get the game back to where we can win it at the end," Groft said.

Central's 3-0 lead in the first came via run-scoring hits by Emily Frakes and Morgan Elliston, plus a fielding error.

Fields started Creek's scoring with a two-run homer in the first inning. "I was just swinging," she said.

Central added three runs in the second, highlighted by Sydney Vaughn's two-run homer.

Another run came in in the third to make it 7-2. Fields started Creek's three-run third with a walk. She eventually scored on a base hit by winning pitcher Kenzi Groft. Hannah Brown came through with a two-run double.

The Commodores plated three more in the fourth. Fields again triggered things with a one-out single. With two errors moving runners along, Kenzi Groft then delivered another RBI single. Rebekah Henning singled in two more.

Kenzi Groft, Whitson and Brown each finished with two hits.

Frakes had four of Central's 16 hits, including three doubles. Mackenzie Murphy added three hits, while Vaughn, Sarah Arthur and Kasi Schneid had two hits each.

Rogers said his message to his team was "forget about it; move on. We've got another tough game (against South Laurel) tomorrow night."

Tates Creek 11, Madison central 10

Madison Central 331 002 1—10 16 2

Tates Creek 203 300 3—11 13 1

Patton and Murphy. Groft and Whitson. W—Groft. L—Patton. 2B—MC: Arthur, Elliston, Murphy, Schneid, Frakes 3; TC; Brown, Whitson. HR—MC: Vaughn; TC: Fields.

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.

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