The Gordon Central softball team’s attempt at a big come-from-behind victory came up just short Wednesday afternoon with a non-region 11-6 loss to Armuchee on the Warriors’ turf.
At the start of the game, it looked like the Lady Warriors might be dealing with two opponents as dark clouds rolled in overhead and little crackles of thunder could be heard far off in the distance.
But the Warriors, led by head coach Morgan McKnight, overcame the weather threat and with a huge late rally, almost overcame the Indians.
Three big innings made the difference for the visitors.
They scored three runs in the top of the first, five times in the top of the third, and three more in the seventh and final after Gordon Central had closed the deficit to 8-6 after the sixth inning.
With the game starting early because it appeared rain was imminent, Armuchee got out of the gate quickly with three runs on the scoreboard before GC came to bat.
The Lady Warriors got on the scoreboard with a run in the bottom of the second inning but the Indians put a five-spot on the board in the top of the third for an 8-1 advantage and appeared to have control of the game.
But the key word there is appeared as coach McKnight’s young team fought back, scoring twice in the fifth and three more in the sixth, narrowing the road team’s lead to 8-6 with one inning remaining.
In fact, Gordon Central brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the bottom of the sixth frame but could do no further damage.
Down by seven runs entering the bottom of the fifth, the the Warriors started making things interesting.
With one out, junior second baseman Madison Snow was hit in the helmet with a pitch to give them a base runner.
Senior shortstop Rachel Raley then laced a ball into the left center field gap for a double while Snow hustled home, making it 8-2.
A ground out later, senior infielder Javan Vinyard singled to left, scoring Raley from third base and Warriors were down 8-3 after five.
Armuchee looked like it might answer GC’s two runs when the Indians led off the top of the sixth with a stand-up double. But Gordon Central pitcher Marissa Self got a fly out, handled a little roller in front of her, and then got a pop-out to second base to keep the runner from going anywhere.
In the bottom half, the Warriors indeed made ‘em sweat, sending eight girls to the plate and having a chance to tie the game.
Once again the rally commenced with a hit by pitch as freshman Raniyah Ellis took one for the team.
Self followed with a grounder to third, but the Indians made a bad throw to get the lead runner at second and when the ball squirted into short right field, Ellis raced to third, giving the Warriors runners at the corners with nobody out.
The next hitter grounded out to second, but Ellis scored and GC trailed, 8-4, with a runner at second. Junior Kayla Caudill hit a single to right to again put runners on first and third.
Another ground ball to third resulted in the second out of the inning at second base, but Self scored and the Warriors trailed, 8-5.
The next girl beat out an infield single to put runners at first and third for the third time in the inning, and junior Arwen Boyle delivered the big two-out RBI hit with a base hit to left to make 8-6. A bad throw by Armuchee to second base let the Gordon Central runners move up a base, putting them at second and third with two outs.
That brought the go-ahead run to home plate and the GC batter lifted one out into left field that looked like for a moment it might drop, but was caught to end the inning.
Armuchee then put things away with its three-run seventh inning.
Ellis did a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh to give Gordon Central a baserunner, but the Warriors would not score.