Heading into the sixth inning, the score was tied 14-14 but Watauga felt confident after they scored three runs in the sixth inning. However, Ashe was able to rally back and with a bullet of a hit by Abigail Miller, Ashe County was able to score the winning run in the form of Samantha Bowlin to claim the 18-17 victory.
Heading to the sixth inning was also an exciting journey for both teams. Ashe had pulled ahead at the end of the second inning with the score 7-5, and then stretched that to 14-6 at the end of the third. Watauga battled back in the fourth and fifth inning scoring eight runs and held Ashe scoreless to tie the scores at 14 all heading into the sixth and final inning.
Watauga took advantage of two walks and a fielding error to place three batters on base, and then with a few hits scored three runs to give Ashe an uphill climb in the bottom half of the sixth inning.
Three outs, and trailing three runs was all that was left in the game for Ashe. They never quit and continued to battle to make the late game come back. To open the inning, Ashe’s batters received three free trips to first when a pitch hit the first batter, and then back-to-back walks loaded the bases. The following batter for Ashe worked the count to a full count prior to striking out for the first out of the inning. The following batter walked in a run with a walk to keep the bases loaded and Ashe only trailed by two runs now. A strike out by the following batter gave Ashe their second out and left them trailing by two with only one out left in the game.
Ashe’s batters continued to remain calm at the plate and a walk by the following batter brought in another run for Ashe, now trailing by only one run.
Faces begin to droop on Ashe’s sideline when the batter at the plate now fell behind quickly in the count. With two solid pitches from Watauga’s pitcher, Ashe’s batter had a pitcher’s count, no balls and two strikes. However, the following pitch got away from Watauga’s pitcher and hit Ashe’s batter in the foot to walk in the tying run, and also kept the bases loaded with two outs for Ashe.
Abigail Miller stepped up to the plate for Ashe. Miller is Ashe’s third hitter in the line up and had a double in the first inning, and then a solid hit ball to right field, which was caught in the fifth inning, as she proved she could hit the ball. Her at bat in the ninth inning would do nothing except confirm that she could hit the ball when she got a hold of the first pitch during her at bat and sent the ball a screaming into center field. The long hit allowed Sam Bowlin to score from third to give Ashe their 18th run to claim the 18-17 victory over Watauga in the first round of the District 7 All-Stars Tournament.
The victory advanced Ashe County to the second round where they face the Wilkes National team this evening in Wilkes at Memorial Park.
Ashe County is looking to create momentum off of the exciting victory and practiced yesterday evening hoping to build off of the first round performance. Look for results from today’s game with Wilkes National in upcoming editions of the Jefferson Post.