Missy Gators rally past Riverside in softball

Published 12:04 pm Friday, March 4, 2011

Vicksburg hit enough adversity to last a season. And that was just the season opener.

The Missy Gators showed serious resilience in a 9-7 come-from-behind victory against visiting Riverside Thursday.

Vicksburg rallied from an early 5-1 deficit. Pitcher Faith Thomas kept the winning run from scoring with a strikeout in the top of the seventh despite allowing the tying run to score. Catcher Blake Derossette picked the lead runner off third base to end the seventh.

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And for the final curtain, switch-hitting Victoria Lewis hit a two-run, walkoff triple to end the game.

“They were very resilient,” Vicksburg coach Amanda Yocum said. “But that’s something we started with them when they were seventh- and eighth-graders last year. I told that I don’t care how bad we were that day or how good the other team is, we play until they say ‘ballgame.’”

Things looked grim for Vicksburg after Riverside cashed in on four errors to score five runs in the first inning.

But the Missy Gators went to work, steadily nibbling away chunks of the deficit. One run here. A couple of runs there. Then three more.

Torrey Daniels delivered an RBI single in the third, while two errors accounted for two more runs as Vicksburg tied the contest at 5 all.

The Missy Gators picked up where they left off in the fourth. After Kortni Newman drew a walk and Lewis reached on an error, Derossette and Daniels cashed in with RBI singles to give Vicksburg its first lead, 7-5.

In the top of the seventh, Thomas needed only three outs to finish off Riverside. But Kristen Horton slapped a triple off the fence to lead off the inning and two errors loaded the bases. Allyson Raymond drove in Horton with an RBI single. Thomas recovered to strike out Destin Roncali, but walked in the tying run. DeRossette then caught the runner on third napping with an alert throw to end the inning.

Thomas struck out five in the win, giving up just five hits and two earned runs. Six costly Vicksburg errors accounted for the rest.

“I just focus on the batter, pitch a strike,” Thomas said. “It rattles you a little bit when there’s one on, but when there is two, it gets your system going. This (win) keeps our confidence up and when we get down like this again, we just need to keep our heads up high and finish it out.”

Vicksburg had one more bit of magic left in the bat bag.

Heather Middleton led off the bottom of the seventh with a double. Olivia Oakes drew a one-out walk to set the stage for Lewis, who squared to bunt twice from the left and failed.

With a two-strike count, Yocum moved her to the right side of the plate and Lewis delivered her game-winning triple on the very next pitch.

“I’m not good at change-ups, but she pitched me low, I like them low and I just drove it,” Lewis said.

Yocum feels the big hit might be just the boost Lewis, who is hitting ninth in the lineup, needs to get rolling.

“That was big for her,” Yocum said. “She hasn’t hit well on the right side of the plate, so we had her on the left slapping, getting her watching the ball to make some contact. That should give her a lot of confidence.”