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INDEPENDENCE –– Six-run innings don’t happen to Grayson County. Six-run innings almost never happen in the region semifinals.
A six-run inning in the region semifinals ended the Blue Devils’ season on Thursday.
Reaching a level of the postseason where final scores like 1-0 and 2-1 are more the norm, Floyd County exploded for a half-dozen runs in the top of the third inning and coasted past the Blue Devils 9-2 in the Region C Division 2 semifinals at the Grayson Rec. Park.
“We told the girls coming in that we wanted to score first, and put a little pressure on the other team,” said Floyd County coach Scott Thompson, whose Buffaloes blanked James River 5-0 for the region championship on Friday. “When it’s a six-run inning, that’s not going to happen. They’ve got a good team, and we just got to where we were hitting the ball today. We got it through the infield and got some good baserunning.”
Grayson County (18-4) had only allowed six runs in a game once this year, and hadn’t surrendered more than one run in a full game in 17 straight outings, including a 1-0 loss to the Buffaloes in early May. But Floyd got in a groove in the third inning Thursday.
Aimee Royal landed the big blow for the Buffaloes with a three-run double for a 4-0 lead. Another run scored on a Grayson throwing error before Ashley Gallimore drove in a run with a single to right.
“Floyd’s a good team and my hat’s off to them,” Grayson coach Tim Hollingsworth said. “You miss your spots pitching and they’re going to put it in play. But we didn’t make the plays that I’ve seen us make this year.”
The six-run lead was more than enough for Floyd starting pitcher Christene Phillips, who held Grayson County scoreless on three hits until getting touched up for two runs on four hits in the sixth.
“Christene is a good one,” Thompson said. “She’s a two-year starter, a junior, and she does a real good job mixing the pitches up and keeping them off-balance, and she lets her defense play behind her.”
Floyd County tacked on two runs in the sixth on RBI singles from Amanda Whitlow and Phillips before the Blue Devils got on the board in the home half. Leadoff singles by Karly Morris and Chelsie Callahan set up an RBI single by Grace Circle and a run-scoring ground-out by Claire Circle.
“We had two good games with them in the regular season and I felt it was a good draw for us,” Hollingsworth said. “I was looking forward to playing them and I felt like we could beat them but everything’s got to be just right this time of year, and we had a couple things not go our way and it snowballed on us.”
Whitlow and Karlee Pendleton had three hits each for Floyd, with two more from Phillips, Dani Harris and Riley Underwood. Callahan had two hits for the Blue Devils, who will return its roster intact next spring.
“We didn’t have a senior on the team, so hopefully we learned something,” Hollingsworth said. “Sometimes you’ve got to learn the hard way.”