Buoyed by Slater, New Kent rallies late to force extra innings, beat Lafayette in nine
By the time New Kent’s host Lady Trojans got their first runner on base, Lafayette’s Rams owned a 5-0 lead and appeared to be cruising to victory behind the pitching of Julia Jones who had struck out the first three batters she faced.
No matter. More innings remained to be played. A lot more, in fact.
The Lady Trojans battled back, first from the 5-0 deficit and again after falling three runs down in the seventh, to force extra innings. Then in the ninth, Peyton Slater, who keyed the seventh inning surge, crossed the plate on a wild pitch to hand the hosts a 9-8 victory.
“We started off a little shaky,” Lady Trojan coach Maria Bates said, pointing to four errors that contributed to Lafayette taking its 5-0 lead after only an inning-and-a-half.
“That about gave me a heart attack, but we fought back,” she said. “I’m proud of the girls for staying up and staying motivated, even in the seventh when [Lafayette] took that lead.”
Nothing appeared to be going the hosts’ way heading into the home half of the second, but that’s when they began the gradual climb back. They loaded the bases as Jones bounced a pitch off lead-off batter Haley Cleaver, gave up a bloop single to Alex Peace, and walked Kamryn Belvin. A walk to Lauren Burke forced in the first run.
Then in the third, a walk to Taylor Yates and Slater’s infield single set the stage for Cleaver’s two-run double to deep left. Next, came the fourth and the first varsity at-bat for Kerstin Snyder, just up from JV. Snyder delivered with a RBI double to pull the hosts within one before a bases-loaded walk created a 5-5 deadlock.
In the seventh, the Rams’ Haley Gustafson led off with a single up the middle. Jackie Boesler followed with a ground rule double into the left field corner to put the visitors back in front. Two more runs crossed the plate, one on a Haley Hyndshaw wild pitch and the other on a fielder’s choice.
Down to its last two outs in the bottom of the seventh, New Kent stayed alive thanks to Jones issuing back-to-back walks to Taylor Goode and Yates. Slater then doubled to left scoring both runners. Not stopping on the play, she drew an errant throw as she took third and scampered home when defenders could not find the handle on the ball that had rolled near the plate.
“Peyton worked her magic and got us those runs back,” said Bates.
As for Slater’s heads-up base running, the coach added, “She’s one of our leaders, and she can make the call on that.”
In the extra frames, Hyndshaw settled down, retiring the Rams in order in the eighth. Then in the ninth, when by rule the last out of the previous inning is awarded second base to start the frame, she repeated her eighth inning feat.
New Kent got runners aboard first and second with only one away in the eighth, but Jones got Yates to pop up in foul ground and Slater to fly to center. That put Slater aboard at second to start the Lady Trojan ninth.
Cleaver led off, dropping a single into shallow right and moving Slater to third. Hyndshaw then drew a walk to load the bases for Peace, but Jones uncorked the decisive wild pitch to score Slater.
For the hosts, the come-from-behind triumph marked just their second win of the season. They are now 2-8.
“This was our first game after spring break so I told the girls we’re having a restart,” Bates said. “Hopefully we’ll come off this one strong and do it again Thursday [against Poquoson].”