Leads can be long-lasting, but they can also be short-lived.
Having experienced somewhat of an up and down season to this point, the West Jones Lady Mustangs know both to be true. On Monday night, the Lady Mustangs led Sumrall 2-0 through four innings of play and looked to be in control. Then, the Lady Cats put up a four spot in their half of the fifth.
“We keep waiting for that one inning,” West Jones head coach Corey Tolbert said. “We’ll lose our composure, and it happened tonight.”
But as Tolbert noted, his team didn’t quit. Trailing 4-2 and down to their final three outs, the Lady Mustangs answered with a five-run seventh inning in completing the comeback win, 7-5.
“We played the catchup game a little bit, and it worked out for us,” Tolbert added. “Got a couple of big hits late. I’m proud of them, because they didn’t quit.”
In that game-deciding seventh, Madi Waters reached on an RBI single which cut Sumrall’s lead to 4-3. Soon after, Kaylee Chennault gave the Lady Mustangs the lead, 5-4, with a two-run double.
If anyone was due for a big hit, it was Chennault, said Tolbert.
“She [Chennault] had a tough game against Wayne County last week. Left a runner on third with two outs and popped up just swinging at bad pitches. But she came up big for us tonight. Got us a hard line drive up the middle.”
Still in the seventh, Morgan Pruitt followed with a two-run double of her own, and through six and a half innings, West Jones held a 7-4 lead.
Sumrall attempted to rally in their half of the seventh, plating a run off an RBI single from Rachel Green. But that would be it for the Lady Cats, as West Jones starting pitcher Madison Hodge finished the job. In a complete game effort, the sophomore struck out six Sumrall batters.
“She [Hodge] did really well on the mound,” Tolbert said. “She put herself into some situations where she got down in the count and had to battle back several times to come away with an out. That’s big, because if you go down 3-0, it’s tough to come back from that, and she did that several times throughout the game. She pitched well for us tonight.”
West Jones improved to 7-9 with the win. When it comes to playoff positioning, the scenarios are simple for the Lady Mustangs.
“We got eight games left going into the playoffs. Nothing’s locked in with anything in our district yet other than one. I think South Jones is probably going to be the one seed,” Tolbert said. “If we can come out tomorrow [against Laurel] and get a win and then come in Thursday and do the same at Wayne County, we should be the two seed. We’ll have to beat them [Wayne County] by two [runs] I think.”
Sumrall fell to 11-4 with the loss. The Lady Cats were led offensively by Abigail Thexton’s three-run triple, which came in their four-run fifth inning. Kaitlyn Russell added the team’s other RBI.