The Raleigh Lady Lions defeated Morton 2-1 Monday evening in the first game of their best-of-two playoff series. Two young pitchers put on a clinic through six innings of play, resulting in a 0-0 score heading into the final inning. The ending, however, was what made it an unforgettable game for those in attendance.
Seeing sophomore Holly Craft dominate a game on the pitcher’s mound is nothing new for those who follow Lady Lions softball. On this night however, she dominated even more-so than usual against a Lady Panthers team that had a 23-1 record up until Monday. Craft recorded a career-high total of 19 strikeouts, at one point fanning six consecutive batters.
“I don’t want to take away any credit from Katie, though,” said head coach Adam Case in reference to Katie Hines, who pitched five innings for the Lady Panthers. Hines allowed zero runs on just one hit through her first four innings of work to keep the game knotted up despite Craft’s own dominant pitching performance.
The stalemate was finally broken in the top of the seventh. With two outs on the board, Mallory Irby hit a single to left field for the Morton’s first hit of the day. Next to the plate was Rachel Revette, who pelted a double to deep left field that brought Irby across home plate for the first run of the contest. Craft then rebounded with one final strikeout to end retire the side.
Raleigh was down to their last at bat, and things were not looking good. After a pop fly out and a groundout to first base, the Lady Lions were just one out away from falling in the first game of the series.
“I thought we were going to lose,” said sophomore Kayley Revette while laughing. Coach Case, however, was a bit more confident in his young playmaker. “Kayley’s been batting around .650 over the couple weeks,” said Case. “She’s playing so well, and I’m just really proud of her.”
The next batter was senior Madison Scott, making her first plate appearance of the evening. Scott hit a ground ball to second base and beat out the throw to first base for a single. Then came Revette, who pelted the ball deep into right field, over the head of the fielder. Scott reached home plate to tie the game as Revette was rounding second base.
With the ball still in the outfield, Coach Case waved frantically for the sophomore to keep running—which she did—and she beat to throw to home plate by a good five to 10 yards for the winning run.
“I won’t lie, I didn’t think things were looking good,” admitted Case. “But we had great pitching all day that kept things close, and [Kayley] came through for us when we needed it.”
Game two of the series between the Lady Lions and Lady Panthers is scheduled for Tuesday, April 23. If Raleigh wins, they will advance to the next round of postseason play. If Morton wins, a game three will be played at a date and time to be determined later this week.