Repeat performance: South Warren walks off for win over Warren East yet again
The last time South Warren and Warren East met on the softball field, the Spartans walked off with a 3-2 victory on Shelby Nunn’s 2-RBI single in the Region Four Championship Game last June.
The Spartans walked off against the Lady Raiders yet again on Thursday night, but it was a new hero who stepped up for South Warren.
With the game tied at 12 in the bottom of the eighth and runners in scoring position at second and third, senior Kaitlyn LaSala belted an RBI single to left field to lift the Spartans to a thrilling 13-12 extra innings victory over Warren East—handing the district rival Lady Raiders their first loss of the season.
“What a ballgame,” South Warren coach Kelly Reynolds said. “This is exactly what the fans pay for.”
The South Warren-Warren East series has historically been a number of low-scoring affairs in recent years, but on Thursday night the Spartans and Lady Raiders combined for 28 hits and four home runs—including two grand slams—on a night where the winds were quite gusty.
“It’s usually 1-0, 2-1, 3-2,” Warren East coach Philip McKinney said. “Crazy game, crazy game.”
The Spartans were coming off a 12-2 run-rule loss at Christian County on Tuesday night when they notched just five hits, but South Warren bounced back with an explosive performance at the dish against the Lady Raiders.
“We had a rough night on Tuesday night against Christian County,” Reynolds said. “We didn’t captivate our strength, which is hitting and I think we definitely did that (Thursday night). It was game-changer moments and our girls never got down. They stayed up and kept going until the very end.”
“We had some critical errors that cost us some runs, but we had offense that just kept powering through and powering through all throughout our lineup.”
Junior Madison Stumbo led South Warren at the plate, hitting three legs of the cycle with two singles, a double and a home run (grand slam) while driving in five runs—including the tying run in the bottom of the eighth.
South Warren (3-1, 2-0 District 14) trailed 2-0 after the top of the first as the Lady Raiders posted the first numbers on the scoreboard with a 2-RBI single by Ashton Akins.
It didn’t take long for the Spartans to erase the deficit.
Leadoff batter Lauren Martin drilled a solo homer over the left field fence to begin the bottom of the first, and it was all South Warren for the next three outs.
Emma Mills followed Martin’s home run with a single before scoring when Jess Bush reached on an infield single to tie the game at 2-all.
One out later, Alexis Isable walked to bring up LaSala, who reached on an E7 to load up the bases. The error bug hit the Lady Raiders once again as Alexis Helderman got on base on a miscue before Abbey Mills cracked a 2-RBI single to center to give South a 5-2 advantage.
Warren East chipped into the deficit in the top of the second, picking up two runs on a 2-RBI single by Jeyda Bays—a hard grounder up the middle that narrowly eluded the grasp of several Spartan infielders.
Bays came through once again in the top of the fourth, sending a hard grounder straight up through to center field to score Lucy Patterson—who had reached base on a single—and tie the game at 5-all.
Warren East continued to pour it on in the top of the fifth as Price slugged a grand slam just over the top of the fence in left field to give the Lady Raiders a 9-5 lead.
But South Warren wasn’t fazed.
Stumbo led off the bottom of the fifth with a standup double before Isalbe crunched a two-run shot over the fence in dead center to cut the Spartans’ deficit to 9-7.
The Spartans kept the momentum going and re-gained the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a grand slam by Stumbo that well cleared the wall in left field and gave South an 11-9 edge, but Price answered with a 2-RBI double for the Lady Raiders in the top of the seventh to ultimately send the game into extras as South went down in order in the bottom half of the inning. Price finished the game with six RBI for the Lady Raiders.
Warren East continued the see-saw battle as Kelsey Sparks reached on an error and went to second with two outs before advancing to third on a single to left by Patterson. Hailey Hymer then delivered an RBI knock for the Lady Raiders, who would fall just short in a truly epic contest. Even though his team found themselves wrong side of the scoreboard, McKinney was still proud of his Lady Raiders for their resilience, erasing an early 5-2 deficit and rallying back to force extras after Stumbo’s bases-clearing shot and even take the lead.
“This is probably one of the proudest games that I have coached at East regular season,” McKinney said. “Very, very proud of how our bunch got punched in the mouth and just kept fighting back.”
South Warren tied it up at 12 on an RBI single by Stumbo, and LaSala sent Spartan fans home happy with an RBI single through the gap between third and short to plate courtesy runner Elizabeth Spencer for the winning run—taking the victory via small ball on a night where power hitting was dominant.
“I wasn’t trying to hit it over the fence,” LaSala said. “I wasn’t trying to power hit it. I was just trying to get it through that hole so (Spencer) could score and we win the game.”