Hayes' homer in eighth gives Champion 4-3 win
The Flashes improved to 10-1 after beating Cardinal Mooney.
CHAMPION -- When Champion High softball player Emily Hayes stepped in the batter's box late in an extra inning game against Cardinal Mooney, she was just hoping to keep the Flashes alive with a hit.
Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Hayes came to the plate with teammate Kasey Karr on first base and one out.
"I just wanted to get a hit to keep the game going," the junior second baseman said.
But when the count went to 3 and 2, Hayes said she just felt like it was time to go home.
Hayes sent the next pitch from Mooney's Colleen Courtney over the left-field fence to give the Flashes (10-1) a come-from-behind 4-3 win in a big Division III non-conference matchup.
"I just watched it when I hit it," Hayes said. "I knew it was gone and it felt great to get [a home run] in a game like this."
Has done it before
Hayes is no stranger to making big hits for the Flashes in her young softball career.
Last season as a sophomore, Hayes hit three home runs including two game winners. This two-run, walk-off blast was her first home run this year.
"Emily's a great clutch hitter," Champion coach Cheryl Weaver said. "I was glad to see her come to the plate in that situation."
Hayes' home run delivered the dramatic victory after Cardinal Mooney rallied from a two-run deficit to tie the game with solo runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
Mooney (4-4) finally took the lead briefly in the top of the eighth when Gina Brunetti scored on a sacrifice fly to deep center by Laura Guyer.
Pitched out of jam
Brunetti doubled to open the inning and went to third on a single by Dana Palazzo.
Mooney later loaded the bases but Champion pitcher Jaclyn Carpenter (5-0) got out of the inning to give her teammates a chance to win in the bottom of the ninth.
"We had a opportunity to break the game open in the top of the inning with a big hit," Mooney coach Mark Rinehart said. "We could have put more pressure on them if we got a few more runs [in the eighth]."
Both pitchers worked much of the game getting out of trouble.
Mooney stranded ten base runners while the Flashes left four on the base paths.
"Carpenter worked hard to get out of several tough spots that she put herself in," Weaver said. "She did a great job when it counted."
Carpenter is Champion's number-two pitcher behind Karr. Both are undefeated and equally talented. Champion got on the scoreboard first by scoring two runs in the third inning when Mooney committed three errors.
Jackie Ellis reached base on a dropped ball in center field and was later forced at second on a fielder's choice grounder by Carpenter. After a single by Karr and a throwing error put runners at second and third, a grounder to second off the bat of Hayes scored
Carpenter and Karr also scored as an errant throw to first pulled the first baseman off the bag.
Carpenter, Karr and Hayes each had two hits for the Flashes while Brunetti and Palazzo had two hits for the Cardinals.