Late-inning surge lefts Lady Eagles past St. Pauls

W. Curt Vincent -

ST. PAULS — The Lady Eagles went a 10-0 tear over the last four innings, then weathered a ferocious rally to knock off St. Pauls in a non-conference game on Thursday, 14-12.

The win improved East Bladen to 4-7.

The Lady Eagles scored three runs in the top of the first inning without the benefit of a hit. Izzy Smith was plunked by a pitch, Abby Cross reached on a St. Pauls error, Olivia Hollingsworth was hit by a pitch to load the bases and walks to Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson, Johanna Parker and Faith Johnson brought the runs home for a 3-0 lead.

But in the second inning, the Lady Bulldogs took advantage of three East Bladen errors, a walk and two hits to push six runs across the plate and take a 6-3 edge into the third inning.

The Lady Eagles got one of those runs back in the top of the inning when Emily Scott singled, stole second and scored on a fielder’s choice RBI off the bat of Cross.

St. Pauls, however, pushed the advantage back to three runs when the Lady Bulldogs scored in the bottom of the inning for a 7-4 lead.

That’s when East Bladen went on a tear.

In the top of the fourth, the Lady Eagles scored four times to take an 8-7 lead. A walk to Hollingsworth started things and was followed by a St. Pauls error that put Moore-Peterson on, Parker was hit by a pitch to fill the bags and a fielder’s choice by Johnson plated the first run. Kaley Smith then launched a two-run triple to knot the score and she scored moments later on a passed ball with the go-ahead run.

In the fifth frame, Moore-Peterson worked a two-out walk, stole second and third, then scored to give the Lady Eagles a 9-7 edge.

In the sixth, Kaley Smith smoked her second triple of the game and scored on a sacrifice fly by Scott for a 10-7 lead.

East Bladen all but put the game out of reach with four runs in the seventh inning when Hollingsworth was hit by a pitch, went to second on a passed ball and scored on Moore-Peterson’s RBI single. Parker was nailed by a pitch and Kaley Smith brought a run home with a fielder’s choice. Scott followed with a long triple that scored two and gave the Lady Eagles a 14-7 advantage.

But the Lady Bulldogs didn’t go quietly.

With some help from East Bladen in the form of two errors, St. Pauls scored five runs to close the final gap to 14-12.

“We hit the ball pretty well,” said East Bladen coach Patty Evers. “But we still have those innings with mindless mistakes, and that’s where we need to toughen up. It’s a growing and learning experience.”

Kaley Smith earned the win in the circle, twirling a complete-game and giving up 12 hits, three walks and striking out two.

The Lady Eagles had just six hits in the game and were led by Scott’s 2-for-3 night with a triple and three RBI, along with Kaley Smith, who went 2-for-5 with two triples and three RBI. Moore-Peterson and Johnson each had two RBI.

East Bladen is off for spring break and will be back on the diamond Tuesday, April 25, when they travel for a Four County Conference game in Rocky Point against Heidi Trask at 6 p.m.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

W. Curt Vincent

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