LAURENS — The Nation Ford Lady Falcons exploded in the top of the seventh inning, scoring five runs to get a 12-7 slugfest win over the Laurens Lady Raiders in an elimination game in the Class AAAA state playoffs.
After back-to-back errors by Laurens in the top of the seventh, third baseman Makenzie Mitchell singled, as did first baseman Ashley Trull, both driving in runs to break a 7-7 tie.
Centerfielder Darby Trull singled to load the bases before shortstop Mandy Mitchell tripled to clear the bases and give the Lady Falcons insurance runs.
Nation Ford will play at Blythewood at 6:30 p.m. Monday in another elimination game.
The Lady Falcons banged out 17 hits in the game, the most against a AAAA team all season, said head coach Michael Kidd.
“They came out and jumped on them from the start,” Kidd said. “They did exactly what we asked them to do. They kept fighting back, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
The Lady Falcons shook off any hang-ups from losing to Blythewood Thursday night and scored two runs in the top of the first.
Back-to-back singles by Darby Trull and Mandy Mitchell put runners on first and second. An error by Laurens’ Michaela Smith allowed the two runs to score.
Laurens added one in the bottom of the first to cut the Nation Ford lead in half with the help of an RBI double from Elizabeth Carman.
In the bottom of the second, Laurens tied it with the help of a throwing error by Nation Ford after Lady Raiders’ catcher Baylee Bragg singled to lead off the inning. Bragg scored on the error two batters later, allowing third baseman Tara Bond to reach base.
A single from Laurens’ Chaos Smith loaded the bases and another Lady Falcons error put the Lady Raiders on top 3-2.
Both starting pitchers, Nation Ford’s Brooke McCurry and Laurens’ Allison Foreback, settled down in the third inning, allowing just one base runner each.
Laurens added a run in the bottom of the fourth when Carman singled in Smith, who had singled to reach base earlier in the inning.
Nation Ford’s bats rang again in the top of the fifth as three of the first four hitters singled to load the bases. McCurry helped her own cause with a single, scoring first baseman Ashley Trull and outfielder Sierra Mitchell to tie the game.
Laurens threatened in the bottom of the fifth as Bragg hit a two-out triple and pinch hitter Amber Aylesworth walked to put runners on the corners, but McCurry buckled down to get the third out and got out of the inning without allowing a run.
Nation Ford regained the lead in the top of the sixth as catcher Carolyn Thompson led off with a double. She scored three batters later on an RBI by Sierra Mitchell. First baseman Ashley Trull scored on a fielder’s choice by centerfielder Darby Trull and Lauren Kidd drove in Mitchell on a sacrifice to give Nation Ford some cushion.
The lead was short lived, however, when Smith made up for her earlier error by drilling a three-run home run to left center to tie the game at 7.
Nation Ford 12,
Brooke McCurry and Carolyn Thompson (NF); Allison Foreback, Logan Hill (6), Foreback (7), Hill (7) and Baylee Bragg (L). W – McCurry, L – Hill. 2B – Elizabeth Carman (L), Darby Trull (NF), Carolyn Thompson (NF). 3B – Baylee Bragg (L), Mandy Mitchell (NF). HR – Michaela Smith (L). LOB: Nation Ford 7, Laurens 8.
Leading hitters: Nation Ford – Darby Trull 3-5 2B, RBI; Mandy Mitchell 3-4 3B, 3RBI; Ashley Trull 3-3 RBI; Carolyn Thompson 2-4 2B; Makenzie Mitchell 2-4 RBI; Sierra Mitchell 2-5 RBI. Laurens – Chaos Smith 3-5; Baylee Bragg 3-4 2B; Elizabeth Carman 2-3 2B, 2 RBI; Michaela Smith 1-4 3-run HR.
Records: Nation Ford 14-14, Laurens 16-12.