Central Bulldogs ‘Walk Off’ With A Victory Against Faith Christian Eagles

The Bulldogs utilize multiple sacrifice bunts to secure a win over the Faith Christian Eagles.
– Photo courtesy of Clinton Central Softball

The Clinton Central Bulldogs faced off against the Faith Christian Eagles in the first round of the Rossville Sectional Friday evening, securing victory in a close battle with a score of 3 to 2.

As the Bulldogs geared up for the momentous game, the Eagles would take advantage of a few errors from the Bulldogs’ defense in the top of the first inning, resulting in an early lead for the Eagles leading into the bottom of the first with the Eagles beginning with a 1 to 0 lead. The Eagles and Bulldogs’ defense would hold strong until the fourth inning as the Eagles were held to zero additional runs while the Bulldogs began to swing for the fences.

In the bottom of the fourth, Kortney Surber would lead off the rally with a single to right field that transitioned into a sacrifice bunt from Olivia Richie that placed Surber in scoring position on second base.

As Surber rounded the base, she noticed that third base was unguarded, allowing her to kick it into gear and sit on third as Abigail Richie approached the plate. Richie slammed a hard groundball to the shortstop, but Surber acted as a distraction, allowing Richie to make it to first and leave the Eagles struggling to prioritize the best scenario to close out the inning and strand the Bulldogs.

However, the Bulldogs saw Sara Parkison step into the box where she cracked a grounder to the second baseman that allowed Surber to cross home plate to even the score. With a sacrifice bunt, Richie being sacrified for Surber’s score and a strikeout, the ending concluded with the Bulldogs tying the game 1 to 1.

With only 14 pitches by Landree Whiteman and the Bulldogs keeping the Eagles from scoring, the Central was back at the plate with a new momentum in the bottom of the fifth. Lynssie Wallsmith stepped to the plate with two outs where she hit a slow-roller groundball to third, which resulted in the Eagles overthrowing first, allowing Wallsmith to head to second where she rounded the base and raced toward third. As she rounded third base, the ball was bobbled once more and Wallsmith was sent home, sliding safely across home plate to bring the Bulldogs into the lead with a score of 2 to 1.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Eagles took advantage of an error by the Bulldogs’ previously impenetrable defense to tie the game 2 to 2 before holding the Bulldogs to zero additional runs in the bottom of the sixth.

The top of the seventh would see Whiteman shine as a 10-pitch, 3-batter inning resulted in zero runs for the Eagles, leading into the final showdown for the Bulldogs in the bottom of the seventh. The Bulldogs only needed to score one run to break the tie and win the game without overtime.

Leading off the bottom of the seventh inning was Kylie Riehl as she stepped to the plate for the first time, slamming a 2-1 pitch to right field for a lead-off single. Whiteman followed with a sacrifice bunt that advanced Riehl to second, leaving the Bulldogs in a scoring position as Wallsmith stepped to the plate.

Tensions rose among fans as Wallsmith watched the first pitch hit the catcher’s mitt as a “strike” echoed through the stands. With a 0-1 count, Wallsmith cracked a stand-up double that scored Riehl for a “walk off” finish and sent the Bulldogs into the next round to play Frontier as they vied for their chance at a Sectional title.

The Bulldogs saw seven hits and three errors during the game compared to the Eagles’ three hits and five errors.