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Prep softball: Davis, No. 5 Redskins claim slugfest over No. 2 Knights

HURRICANE, W.Va. -- In showing its ability to roll with the punches Wednesday night, the Hurricane softball team showed that it can beat top opponents not just with good pitching and defense.

Want to get into a slugfest with the defending Mountain State Athletic Conference champions? Good luck with that.

The Class AAA No. 5 Redskins won their second game against a top-five opponent in as many days Wednesday, this time one-upping No. 2 Cabell Midland every time the Knights made an offensive push and eventually outlasting their guests 15-13 at Hurricane High.

"That was really stressful, but I knew if we just kept hitting the ball my defense would take care of it," Redskins sophomore pitcher Emily Davis said after picking up the win in relief of starter Courtney Rogers.

"I knew we had good offense to hit the ball. We just never stopped hitting," said Davis, who went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI at the plate.

It was a good thing for Hurricane (15-2) that it didn't let off the gas after the Redskins lineup posted Rogers to a 7-1 lead after four innings. Rogers, who threw a three-hit shutout in beating No. 4 St. Albans on Tuesday night, saw her velocity tail off just enough by the fifth that Midland bats caught up to her.

When they did, they did so in a big way. Midland No. 9 hitter Makayla Waugh began a five-run fifth win a triple, and the Knights (12-2) combined five consecutive singles with a pair of Hurricane errors to pull to within 7-6.

Hurricane answered with three runs in the bottom of the fifth before Midland came back with five more in the top of the sixth, an inning highlighted by a Savannah Eplin two-run double and three more Hurricane errors.

By the time the sixth ended, Midland had an 11-10 lead and Hurricane Coach Josh Caldwell had pulled Rogers, trading her spots with Davis, who started at third base.

"We made way too many mistakes there late. We kind of got tight, I thought, defensively," Caldwell said. "But what can you say. I mean, 15 runs against the No. 2-ranked team in the state. I'll take that."

Midland Coach Jeanne Lunsford had gone to her bullpen much earlier, pulling ace Kyla Shull in the third inning after Shull had thrown 66 pitches and struck out seven, but had lost much of her effectiveness after taking a line-drive off her glove hand, stoving her fingers.

Reliever Abbie Tolbert had kept Midland afloat long enough for her offense to reach Rogers, but the wheels came off as soon as the Knights took the lead. Linzie Reynolds - who had continued her recent hitting tear with a two-run single in the first, started off the sixth with a single. Addie Fullen then walked before Davis brought Reynolds home with a single to left field.

Madi Hebb followed Davis with another RBI single, and Lunsford made a second pitching change, bringing in Jenna Marsh.

Marsh was able to end the inning but not before Cassi Sargent's two-run single scored the Redskins 14th and 15th runs.

"We allowed way too many runs with two outs tonight. We couldn't finish innings," Lunsford said. "Still, I'm proud of the way my girls never got down and never quit. This was a game that was fun. I'm proud of them."

It also wasn't over after Hurricane took what proved to be its final lead.

In the seventh, Midland opened with a pair of infield singles from Jordan Colliflower and Morgan Kelley, and Jenny Brumfield loaded the bases by reaching on a fielder's choice that failed to yield an out. Erin Kaplan and Eplin got RBI singles to bring the Knights to within two, but Davis finally got Waugh to fly out to left to end the game.

After the teams combined for 36 total hits - 18 apiece - Davis reflected on the recent wins for her fifth-ranked team in light of the fact that the MSAC playoffs begin in 12 days.

"It's good to have gotten these wins, but we can't let up at all," she said. "We've got to keep playing every day and trying to get better."

The game featured multi-hit performances by 13 players. Hebb was 3-for-4 for the Redskins with two RBI while Pierson went 3-for-5.

Eplin was 3-for-5 for Midland with four RBI while Kelley, Kaplan and Colliflower each went 3-for-5.

Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.taylor@dailymail.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT.


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