Green Ridge softball’s first win of the season was a strange one.
Gusts reached up to 25 mph Thursday in Green Ridge, but the hardest hit ball against Tipton came 2 hours and 25 minutes into the contest and the wind was hardly a factor.
The hardest hit ball was Ashlyn Peck’s first home run. It was grand slam. The lofty drive rolled past the Tipton outfield, far enough for Peck to consider settling for a triple on her trip around third.
Those four runs brought the Lady Tigers within three during a seventh-inning rally that saw Green Ridge finally top Tipton 21-20.
It took a marathon for Green Ridge’s first win of the season. Peck pitched the entire game for Green Ridge, facing 53 batters and allowing 20 runs.
Peck said it was probably the longest – and definitely the windiest – game she’s been a part of. And while Peck preserved the Green Ridge bullpen one day before the conference tournament, she said it was “awful.”
“At first it was kind of rough,” Peck said about pitching. “But then it finally came to me and it got better.”
Trudy Capps started in the circle for Tipton, allowing nine runs in 1.2 innings. Haley Arnel endured the rest.
The Lady Cardinals led all innings but the second, scoring three runs in the first and second innings and 12 in the third. Hayden Dillon boosted Tipton’s rally in the third with a 2-run inside-the-park home run.
Tipton head coach Eric McNeal said he was glad with his offense’s output, despite the loss.
“There’s a lot of inexperience.” McNeal said. “We did a lot of good things. We don’t hit the ball like a 10-seed.”
McNeal’s “10-seed” comment is in reference to Tipton’s seeding in the Kaysinger Conference Tournament. The tournament begins tomorrow, where Tipton is scheduled to face the No. 7 seed Green Ridge Lady Tigers at 4 p.m.
For a game with a combined 41 runs scored, at least seven combined errors committed and a countless instances of catcher’s indifference – officially and unofficially, both teams were undeniably clutch.
With two runners on and one out, Tipton’s right fielder Rachel Schmidt defied the wind and caught a long Holly Thomas pop up. It was the only fly-ball out recorded in the outfield.
After cutting the deficit to 15-18 in the sixth inning, Green Ridge allowed two more runs in the top of the seventh. With the bases loaded, Natalie Hammers snagged an Arnel line drive and doubled up Schmidt at first. Peck induced a 4-3 groundout to escape the jam.
Ashlyn White, who recorded the first out of Green Ridge’s seventh-inning rally, hit a 2-out single to drive in Hammers, the winning run.
Green Ridge head coach Melissa Brock said getting their first win was important to their momentum going into the tournament.
“Getting that under our belt, the tournament ought to be more fun for us.”
Green Ridge hosts No. 10 Tipton tomorrow at 4 p.m. as the No. 7 seed in the Kaysinger Conference Tournament at Centennial Park in Sedalia.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2