Macks Creek knew the feeling of being on the wrong side of a walkoff. So when the Pirates had an opportunity to claim one of their own Tuesday night against Versailles, they did not disappoint.
Macks Creek knew the feeling of being on the wrong side of a walkoff.
So when the Pirates had an opportunity to claim one of their own Tuesday night against Versailles, they did not disappoint after rallying from a 6-1 deficit to knock off the Tigers 7-6. Macks Creek suffered its first loss of the season just a day prior in walkoff fashion against Laquey and did not let the loss linger, finding a way to persevere and get the job done.
“The lesson is you have to keep going until that last out is recorded,” Macks Creek coach Jason Trusty said.
“We’ve been fairly decent wit putting the ball in play and putting pressure on defenses and it paid off again tonight. Last night, that feeling is one you don’t want and tonight we had that same opportunity where we could be on that opposite side. The whole goal was to take care of business and we did in that last inning.”
After Macks Creek tied the game up with three runs in the sixth, Jesse Willis came up to the plate with no outs left to spare in the final seventh inning and beat out a grounder to third base on a close play at first. Alyssa Seaholm’s ensuing single allowed Willis to make a run for third and she beat out another throw while Seaholm promptly made a run to second. When Versailles tried to nab Seaholm at second and end the inning, the ball escaped to center field and Willis came home and the walkoff celebration began.
All this with two outs after Seaholm was also given new life on a dropped foul ball.
“New life with a walkoff hit is pretty good,” Seaholm said with a smile. “I was kind of nervous there stepping up. Nerves got the best of me, but I got my head into it and did what I needed to do.”
Versailles set the tone early plating three runs in the first inning. Joscelynn Marriott blasted an RBI double, Lauren Garrison was eventually able to score on a wild pitch and Ellie Dunnaway brought the third Tiger run in with an RBI single.
Macks Creek responded in the bottom of the frame after a Willis double was followed up with an RBI from Bobbie Hilton on a misplayed ball. It was the first of four RBIs for Hilton who provided a consistent bat for the Pirates with three hits alongside Willis. It is a part of the lineup Trusty is glad to have.
“She (Hilton) is a ‘big stick’ in that 3-hole for us. We know when she is up she is going to hit it hard somewhere at somebody and whether or not it is going to be caught or not is really determined by where she hits it,” the Macks Creek skipper said. “I like having her there and also having Caytlin (Eidson) back behind her and also Shaylee (Skinner) in the 5-hole. If all three of them are hitting like we had those going tonight, we are going to be able to put some (runs) in. We have a lot of protection for our middle of the lineup and I’m hoping it translates a little bit more as the season rolls.”
Versailles pushed across three more runs in the fourth and it began with a leadoff triple from Maris Ollison. Marriott recorded her second RBI of the night on a single, Taylor Bice recorded an RBI walk and Dunnaway scored on a wild throw in a double play effort from home plate to first base.
Trailing 6-1, Macks Creek began the comeback effort. The Pirates secured two more runs in the fourth on a 2-RBI double from Hilton and tied the game back up in the sixth on yet another RBI double from Hilton along with a groundout RBI from Skinner and RBI from Kenzie Hicks on a misplayed grounder at second base. The inning had nearly ended on Skinner’s grounder as a Macks Creek baserunner was nearly tagged on a double play attempt.
After adding the sixth run in the fourth, Versailles left the bases loaded in the fifth and six baserunners on in total, unable to generate more runs.
“We can’t find a motivation to want to get it done. It is really frustrating for me,” said Versailles coach Russ Foster after his team has dropped the last three games by just a single run. “Is it a lack of desire to want to try to win? I don’t know. We have no consistency offensively and can’t put any hits back to back.”
Versailles finished the night with nine hits overall and Marriott led the way with four of them while Ollison and Kierra O’Rourke had two hits each and Dunnaway had one. Marriott got the start on the mound and pitched the entire game allowing seven runs, one earned, on nine hits and two walks to go with nine strikeouts. The Tigers also had eight recorded errors in the game.
Versailles (1-5) will open up Tri-County Conference play hosting Osage on Thursday at 5 p.m. Moving forward, Foster said the club will continue to put in the work to make improvements.
“We just keep plugging away and practice every day like we always do. We do the same old batting drills and same old stuff just trying to get them to where they’ll put the ball in play,’ he said.
“We’ll just continue to work hard and try to get better. That is all we can do.”
Willis was on the mound for Macks Creek and the starting pitcher worked the first four-plus innings allowing six runs, four earned, on six hits while striking out one and walking eight. Bethany Schmidt (2-0) got the win in relief as she worked the final three innings allowing no runs on three hits while walking one and hitting one batter.
“Jesse threw very well tonight and that was the best I’ve seen her throw in the last few times we’ve had her out going back all the way to last fall,” Trusty noted. “Bethany came in and performed well for us too. We worked around a couple of big leadoff hits and runners getting on and putting on pressure. Defensively with our pitchers being able to throw strikes and our defense playing behind it makes our pitchers much more comfortable throwing it around the plate.
“To show they trust their defense behind them, honestly that is the first time we’ve had our full varsity compliment. That was the third different lineup we ran out already this year in three games and they showed they could play well and did very well behind our pitching.”
Macks Creek (2-1) will host Springfield Central on Thursday at 5 p.m. and Trusty is hoping his club remembers what they accomplished Tuesday night.
“We take this experience- we know we can come back and battle with teams that are bigger than us. It is just a matter of taking it and moving forward,” he pointed out. “So now we’ll go to practice tomorrow, work on a few things and we’ll come out and try to do the same thing on Thursday and take care of business.”