Down by two going into the bottom of the third, the East Carter Lady Raiders spent four innings battling back to claim their seventh consecutive district title.
It wasn’t the game the Lady Raiders were hoping for having mercied their West Carter rivals in both appearances during the regular season.
“We made some mistakes on the base path. We left a lot of runners on base, but you are going to have that. We get in this postseason play. Everyone gets better when they get to this point and a lot of teams play better when it is a one-and-done situation,” said East Carter Coach Derek Calhoun.
It would take them all six at-bats to defeated the Lady Comets, 5-2.
The Lady Raiders weren’t able to get the bats going. They left five runners stranded during their first two at bats, allowing the Lady Comets to jump into the lead during the top of the third.
On two outs, Carianna Back drew a walk and was batted in when Ragan Adkins doubled on fly ball to centerfield. Becca Nolen kept the pace going by hitting a ground ball past second baseman, Graycee Castle, for a single and an RBI.
“What we had on the field tonight, I couldn’t be more proud of. East Carter is a regional contender and we just wanted to show we can be too. It’s all a matter of putting the bat on the ball and putting pressure on people. When you start putting pressure on people, things happen,” said West Carter Coach Christopher Shelton.
It was a one-two punch by the Lady Raiders’ pitcher-catcher duo that put them on the board. East Carter pitcher Skylier Bloemer started the bottom of the third as the Lady Raiders’ leadoff. She was determined to take back the earned runs given up in the top of the inning.
She hit a double that struck the fence in right field and courtesy runner Zoey Rainbolt was batter in by catcher Caroline Young when she doubled on a line drive to right field.
“We had a big comeback there, showing them you’re not gonna win, you’re not gonna take control. It’s our turn to show to show you who’s boss. And knowing that it played a role in the next few innings, felt great,” said Bloemer.
Bloemer’s presence at the plate only got stronger. She was three-for- four at the plate, with a double in the third, a triple in the fourth and a two-run homer in the sixth.
Graycee Castle was in place for runs when Bloemer stepped up to bat in the fourth and sixth. Castle was one-for-two at the plate hitting a double in the fourth and drawing a walk in the sixth.
During the sixth, there was no doubt that Bloemer’s home run was going out of the park as it struck the top of the scoreboard.
“That home run, oh my gosh. You don’t know how good it felt,” said Bloemer. “I hit it perfectly, I stepped right and I did a one-two count. I can thank our coaches for that. They always taught us you start your count when she gets to the bottom of her pitch and releases it. It has helped so much. It puts the ball in play,” said Bloemer.
Bloemer also took the win pitching a complete game striking out five. However, Bloemer has the defense to thank for the win, especially the defensive efforts by shortstop Carra Layne. Layne caught a line drive to end the game with two base runners on and helped turn double plays in the second and sixth innings.
Layne also scored the game winning run in the sixth inning. She was on third after drawing a walk, stealing second and advancing to third base on a wild pitch. She advanced to home while Castle attempted to steal second.