Trailing 1-0 entering the bottom of the seventh, the South Forsyth War Eagles made a late comeback to grab a 2-1 win over the Lambert Longhorns Thursday night at home.
“Not giving up,” War Eagles head coach Leanne Brooks said about the team's performance. “It’s really easy, especially in competitive games like this against big rivals in previous years, to drop your head. Especially when you haven’t been productive in the box. To see them fight and not give up, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Lambert opened up the ballgame by scoring in the first inning, when Ashley Fitts hit a single and Courtney Sauer raced to home plate.
In the top of the third inning, Lambert had a chance to add another run with Ireland Egan at third base, but a grounder that rolled all the way to South's first baseman retired the inning.
Then in another promising inning for the Longhorns, with the bases loaded, Josie Crossman recorded one of her seven strikeouts to end the frame.
Lambert held the 1-0 lead until the bottom of the seventh inning.
Kennedy Ariail led off the inning with a hit, and with one out, Audrey Hui singled to the left side. The Longhorns threw the ball away on Hui's hit, allowing Ariail to tie the game and Hui to race around to third base.
That proved to be key.
South’s home crowd cheered on the War Eagles as the momentum shifted towards them. In Ansley Chiang’s chance at bat, she sent the first pitch she saw to center field for a sacrifice fly, and Hui was able to turn on the jets to get to home plate for the walk-off win.
“It was really awesome. I really appreciate my teammates for getting me to score,” Hui said about the game-winner. “They were fighting until the end, and I appreciate how much they stuck with it and kept playing hard.”
Hui and Meghan Lochhead each recorded two hits for South, which was playing in its Region 6-7A opener. Ariail's seventh-inning knock represented the War Eagles' only other hit.
“All game we didn’t have the right approach in the box," Brooks said. "We were hitting more to crush it at the fence instead of getting the top half, putting something in play and making their defense work. Once we put it in play, they made a mistake, and we took advantage.”
Up next, the War Eagles (7-4, 1-0) will travel to face the Forsyth Central Bulldogs (8-6, 0-2) on Sept. 6. The same night, Lambert (4-5-1, 0-2) will hit the road to battle against the Denmark Danes (6-5, 2-0), who are currently on a three-game winning streak.
“Just going to take the energy from this game and keep it going to get through the season,” Hui said, regarding trying to get another region win against the Bulldogs.