Wednesday, 16 May 2018 00:00

Lady Rockets come back late to advance to middle school title game

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Maylyn Wallace (11) hit a bases-clearing triple to tie the game at 12 Monday, and would score the game-winning run. Maylyn Wallace (11) hit a bases-clearing triple to tie the game at 12 Monday, and would score the game-winning run. Photo courtesy of Deon Cranford.

ROCKINGHAM – Heading into the top of the seventh inning of Monday afternoon’s semifinal round of the Southeastern Middle School Athletic Conference tournament, the Lady Rockets’ hopes of returning to the conference title game were somewhat slim. 

Rockingham trailed Anson Middle School Blue 12-7, and was going through a lull at the plate recording only one hit in the previous three innings.  However, the Lady Rockets managed to pull off a little Raider Magic, scoring six in the final inning for the win, and punching their ticket to Wednesday’s championship game against Carver Middle School.

Rockingham’s Allie Miller, Ashton Alexander and Madison Jenkins are the bottom three batters, respectively, in the lineup, and each drew a walk to load the bases in the top of the seventh inning.  This brought some life to the Lady Rockets’ dugout.

“Our seven, eight and nine (batters) all got on with no outs,” said Rockingham Coach Jeff Ingram.  “It was a good scenario.  We were fortunate enough to have our top three coming to the plate with the bases loaded.  They have been hitting well all season.  I felt good about our chances at that point.”

Alliyah Swiney wasted no time.  She smacked the second offering from Anson pitcher Camryn Martin into shallow center for a single that brought home Miller.  With the bases still loaded, Kenleigh Frye also put a good swing on Martin’s second pitch.  Frye’s single to left field and plated Alexander, and just like that, the Rockingham deficit was cut to three at 12-9.

The Lady Rockets were scoring, but one run at a time was not good enough for Maylyn Wallace.  Wallace quickly dropped to 0-2 in the count, but rebounded by blasting pitch number three all the way back to the centerfield fence for a triple.  Her three RBIs tied the game at 12, and Wallace herself was now in position to score the winning run.

Savannah Jordan brought home Wallace with a sacrifice bunt setting off a celebration from the home team.

“We always have really close games with (Anson Blue),” Ingram said.  “For the last three years or so, the games between us and them have been close.”

The last four games between the two schools have been decided by two runs or less with Rockingham narrowly winning them all.

Anson Blue was quite familiar with Wallace.  In the regular season meeting between Rockingham and Anson Blue, Wallace was 4-for-5 with eight RBIs (including a fourth-inning grand slam) and four runs scored in an 18-16 home victory.  In Wednesday’s semifinal game, Wallace was only 1-for-4 at the plate, but recorded 5 RBIs and scored twice.

Swiney finished the day going 3-for-3 with an RBI and four runs scored.  Frye was 1-for-5 with two RBI’s and came home once, and Jordan was 1-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.  Taylor Young and Savannah Mullins each recorded a hit as well.

The Lady Rockets (10-1) now turn their focus to Carver Middle School (11-0).  Rockingham managed to keep their regular season meeting with Carver close for six innings, but the Lady Eagles exploded for 11 runs in the seventh inning to defeat the Lady Rockets 17-4.

“They are good,” Ingram said of Carver.  “They are undefeated for a reason.  We just have to be ready and play well.  Hopefully the weather will let us get the game in.”

Wednesday’s conference title game will be played at Carver Middle School at 6 p.m.

Last modified on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 07:58