Stringer softball grabbed another win on the season Monday evening at home, and it was an exciting one that needed an extra inning.
The Lady Red Devils (14-2) downed Mize 12-11, and now are looking toward a crucial Thursday home contest against Region 7-1A foe Sebastopol, which will likely decide the region championship.
“Sebastopol is coming in, and we beat them last Thursday in a close game. We are going to have to play better to beat them again. I know their coach, and I know he is going to have them motivated, and we are just going to have to play better to beat them again,” said Stringer head coach Jody Rowell.
Rowell’s squad put in the effort Monday night, scrapped when they needed to, and got the job done over 2A Mize. Stringer posted a run in the bottom of the first to take an early lead. The Devils fell behind 2-1 in the second, but then found a 9-run scoring drive in the bottom of the third, sparked by a Janiya Agee three-run homer and a Hannah Grace Buckley single to right that plated a run. A handful of Mize errors later in the inning helped add to the cushion that ended the third with Stringer leading 10-2.
Mize, however, was not finished after the big inning put out by the Lady Red Devils. The Lady Bulldogs held Stringer scoreless through the seventh and tacked on three runs in the fourth, three runs in the sixth, and two runs in the seventh to tie the contest and send the game into an extra inning. Mize took an 11-10 advantage in the top of the eighth, but the Lady Devils, a very young team, found a way in the bottom of the frame, and eighth-grader Jaycee Holifield tapped a perfect bunt to set things in motion. Later, with the bases loaded and with no outs, eighth-grader Madilyn Graham ripped a shot off the left-center wall for the walk-off win.
“She (Graham) got down two strikes, and the at-bat before she went down looking. I was kind of concerned there, but she did what she had to do. It was close to the plate and she put the bat on it,” Rowell said. “For a young team, it was a great win. It shows that they can do it. We’ve got seventh, eighth graders, and ninth graders all mixed in throughout our lineup. We have juniors and seniors just smoking the ball at us, and they held their ground.”
Mize finished with 14 hits and Stringer pushed out 7 hits.
Stringer’s Graham, Kaylee Townsend and Presley Arender each got time in the circle. Graham took the win with a six-inning performance, where she fanned eight Mize batters. Townsend and Arender both struck out one.
Agee and Graham led the Lady Devils at the plate with two hits apiece. Holifield, Buckley, and Allie Goldman also produced a hit.