Lady Hornets rally in 7th to clinch share of OVC title

Published 5:04 am Friday, May 3, 2024

Coal Grove Lady Hornets’ Izzy Kitts (right) slides in safely at second base as Fairland Lady Dragons’ shortstop Ally Shepherd (left) tries to get a handle on the softball as it bounces off the ground and up under her arm. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photos/For The Ironton Tribune)


Coal Grove Lady Hornets’ catcher Rylee Black (left) tags out sliding Fairland Lady Dragons’ baserunner Kaylee Salyer (9) during Thursday’s Ohio Valley Conference game. The Lady Hornets rallied to win 3-2 in the seventh inning to clinch at least a share of the OVC title. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photos/For The Ironton Tribune)

By Jim Walker

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COAL GROVE — Not given much of a chance in the Ohio Valley Conference softball race at the beginning of the season, the Coal Grove Lady Hornets did their damage at the end of the season as well as the end of the game.

The Lady Hornets won their final 9 league games and clinched at least a share of the title with a 3-2 win over the Fairland Lady Dragons on Thursday.

The Lady Hornets lost a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh as Fairland scored twice. But Coal Grove rallied with 2 runs with 2 outs in the bottom of the inning to get the win.

Ironton is one-half game behind and must beat Rock Hill to earn its share of the title as they look to be part of unseating the preseason favorite Lady Dragons.

Coal Grove is now 14-7 overall and finishes 12-2 in the league. Fairland drops to 14-5 and is 10-3 in the OVC with Chesapeake still remaining.

Coal Grove took a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning when Kassidy Travis led off with a single, stole second, went to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch.

Fairland came right back and scored 2 runs in the top of the seventh.

Jordan Spencer led off with a base hit, Makena Black was hit by a pitch, Spencer stole third and scored on a wild pitch.

Hailey Sammons and Katy Bell then walked to force home Black with the go-ahead run.

But the lead was short-lived as the Lady Hornets came back with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning.

Rylee Black and Mia Haynes started the inning with base hits and Kasey Vanderhoof put down a sacrifice bunt. Braelie Hitchcock singled to score Black and a passed ball scored Haynes with the winning run.

Abbie Deeds went the distance for the win as she allowed just 3 hits and 2 earned runs. She struck out 12 and walked 4.

Kaylee Salyer suffered the tough-luck loss with a complete game. She gave up 6 hits, 2 earned runs while striking out 7 and walking only one.

Collins, Black, Izzy Kitts, Hitchcock and Haynes were all 1-3 and Travis 1-2. Hitchock had the only RBI for the Lady Hornets.

Fairland   000 000 2 = 2 3 0

Coal Grove 000 001 2 = 3 6 2

Kaylee Salyer and Makena Black. Abbie Deeds and Rylee Black. W-Deeds (IP-7.0, H-3, R-2, ER-2, K-12, BB-4). L-Salyer (IP-6.2, H-6, R-3, ER-2, K-7, BB-1). Hitting-Fairland: Katie Dehart 1-3, Kaylee Salyer 1-3 RBI, Jordan Spencer 1-3; Coal Grove: Shay Collins 1-3, Rylee Black 1-3, Izzy Kitts 1-3, Braelie Hitchcock 1-3 RBI, Mia Haynes 1-3, Kassidy Travis 1-2.