Lady Vols rally on day Wofford receives honor
Oak Hill Academy did all they could do to spoil Bailey Wofford's day on Tuesday.
Fortunately for Wofford, her Starkville Academy teammates wouldn't let it happen.
On an afternoon that began with a pregame tribute to their lone senior, the Lady Volunteers staged a late-inning, come-from-behind rally to to edge Oak Hill 7-5.
"I was very happy that we were able to pull together and come back," said SA head coach Jessica Dickens. "I was very impressed with the grit that we had about us."
The Lady Vols' comeback wasn't as big of a surprise as was the cast SA (18-9, 4-2) used to piece together their late surge.
Trailing 5-1 in the home half of the sixth, a Lauren Ware single sparked the bottom portion of the Lady Vols batting order.
Megan Jones followed Ware by reaching on an error. Tori McClendon also reached on an error that scored Ware and made it 5-2.
Adrienne Futral kept things going by getting on with a run-scoring fielder's choice that pulled the Lady Vols to within two.
Then, SA's number nine batter, Emily Gregory came through with a game-tying, two-run double.
"I couldn't be any more proud of (Gregory)," said Dickens. "She has broken out here lately. She doesn't say much, but she's very solid and consistent in the outfield, and she's improved this season with her hitting. Last year, she was a flex player and didn't even bat. So she's improved this year with the bat and it's finally paying off for her."
SA kept things rolling after Gregory's big hit.
Mary Austin Barber and Megan Picard both singled and scored to cap the Lady Vols' six-run inning, letting Wofford enjoy a win on her senior afternoon.
"I was worried at first, but I was glad everybody pulled through," said Wofford. "(Ware) started the big inning out and that was good. It got us all started up. The whole bottom half of the order has really been doing better the last few games."
Julianne Jackson was the winning pitcher for SA, despite falling victim to a four-run Oak Hill outburst in the fourth.
Dickens wasn't the least bit happy to see her club fall into what was then a 4-1 hole, but was glad the Lady Vols were able to recover.
"That's a pretty good deficit against a team like that," said Dickens. "The thing is, we have a tendency to give the other team a chance on routine plays that should be made. That gets us in a hole to begin with. If we would stop doing that, we'd be a lot better off. But maybe they just like to make it interesting and come back. But there's coming a day very soon when we'll play a team that will make us pay for making those errors."
In fact, for Dickens' Lady Vols, any mistakes will soon be magnified. Regardless of the result of today's regular-season concluding home game against Pillow Academy, SA is headed into the playoffs.
Wofford, like her coach, says the key for the Lady Vols to make a postseason run is cutting out the errors and making the plays that should be made.
"We've just got to make routine plays," said Wofford. "If we can do that, we can keep this winning going."