The Gordon Central Lady Warriors showed some big-time resilience and ability to overcome adversity on Tuesday, and the result was a dramatic and confidence-building comeback victory.
After falling behind 8-2 after two innings in their home opener against Fannin County, the Lady Warriors got up off the deck, battled back and did what they needed to do to find a way to win in a 13-12 non-region victory. Gordon Central (2-1) actually overcame deficits twice as they came back to take an 11-9 lead in the fifth before the Lady Rebels jumped back ahead at 12-11 with three in the sixth. After tying the game with a run in the bottom half of the sixth, Gordon Central got the leadoff runner on in the seventh in the form of Montana Slaughter and she was chased home on a game-winning, walk-off double by Sarah Crowder.
Gordon Central coach Sara Broom, who is back in charge starting this season after previously serving as head coach from 2008-2010, said she has stressed to her team to never stop fighting in games when things do not go their way in the early innings, and they look like they have taken that to heart.
“That’s what we’ve preached,” said Broom. “When things get tough in games, that’s when our character is going to show. When you get behind, it’s about how you react and come back from it. Today, we didn’t start off the game very well, but the girls stayed in it and tried to get the momentum back on our side. We were able to find a way to battle and get a win.”
Fannin County (0-3) grabbed the early momentum with four-run frames in each of the first and second innings to lead 8-2 going to the third. Gordon Central chipped away from there with four runs in the third, and after the Lady Rebels added one in the fourth to go up 9-6, the Lady Warriors came right back to take an 11-9 lead with two runs in the fourth and three in the fifth.
The Lady Rebels turned the game around once again with a three-run six to go up 12-11, but Gordon Central tied the game in the bottom half, proceeded to get a shutout inning in the top of the seventh and then won the game in the final half inning on Slaughter and Crowder’s heroics.
Broom said she was very proud of the way her lineup continued to hit and find a way on base and was especially pleased with the production of her freshmen.
“Our freshmen really stepped up today and had some great at-bats and big hits,” said Broom. “They really produced at the plate. That’s huge for our future as a program. Everyone contributed today though. We got production from one through nine, and that’s what we have to continue to do to improve and be successful.”
Freshmen Crowder and Marissa Self each had big offensive days with Self going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored and Crowder contributing two hits, including a double and three RBIs. Slaughter, Javan Vineyard and Jada Jaco also had two hits apiece with Slaughter driving in two runs and scoring three runs and Vineyard having an RBI and a double. Cara Crump had a hit, two RBIs and two runs scored in the leadoff spot, and Morgan Frank and Sam Jordan each had a hit and a run scored as well.
For Fannin County, the middle of the order did a lot of the damage with Kayleigh Russell going 4-for-4 with a homer, double and four RBIs in the clean-up spot and Maleah Stepp going 3-for-3 with a homer and four RBIs. Macy Galloway added three hits and two runs scored as the leadoff hitter, and Lolly Korwatch had two hits, a double and two RBIs. Alicia Jones was also 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Frank got the win for Gordon Central in relief as she came on in the second inning and finished out the rest of the game in the circle. In total, she went 5 1-3 innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits while striking out six. Broom said she her senior Frank stepped up and did what the team needed her to do in the victory.
“We had discussed before the game that we might go to her if we needed her,” said Broom. “We started a freshman, and I think she had some first-game jitters so I went to Morgan and told her we needed her experience. She took control out there. We needed someone to stop the bleeding and that’s what she did tonight.”
Gordon Central is on the road on Thursday to open Region 7-AA play at Model at 5 p.m. Broom said she hopes this kind of win gets some momentum going early in the schedule.
“We start region play on Thursday so this was a good win before going into that,” said Broom. “Today we hit 1-9 in the lineup and everyone produced. I think we’ve got some momentum going and our confidence going. That is a good thing going into the region.”