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Crigger, Grayson County hold off Cavaliers

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Like their baseball counterparts a day earlier, Carroll cut a 7-1 gap to 7-6 but also came up short.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

INDEPENDENCE -- Both Carroll County and Grayson County sent seven batters to the plate in an eventful first inning of their nondistrict game Wednesday at the Grayson County Recreation Park. Carroll County managed one run and left three girls stranded while the Blue Devils exploded for four runs. Capitalizing on early opportunities was the difference for Grayson, which had to hold its breath through a Cavalier comeback in the late innings before exhaling after an 8-6 win. The victory was the third in a row for the Blue Devils (4-4), who started the season 1-4. Carroll County’s record fell to 2-5. Grayson was breezing merrily along and seemed headed for an easy win until a late-inning charge by the Cavaliers. Autumn Fink drew a bases-loaded walk to force in Regan Halsey for a 7-2 score in the fifth, and Carroll County made a serious run at the Devils in the sixth. Two walks and a Lexi Hodge single loaded the bases with none out and brought Grayson County starter Jordan Hensley’s day to a close. Devil ace Amanda Spurlin took over in the circle and was greeted by a two-run double to the leftfield corner by Amber Cannaday, still with no outs. Back-to-back ground ball outs by Halsey and Autumn Hill each drove in a run, pulling Carroll to within a 7-6 score before Halsey recorded a strikeout to end the uprising. Grayson County shortstop Traci Crigger put the finishing touches on a stellar day in the bottom of the sixth, ripping a single up the middle for a big insurance run and an 8-6 lead entering the seventh. Spurlin allowed a two-out single in the seventh to Emily Hiatt but otherwise escaped the inning unscathed, picking up the save. Crigger’s big day got off to a huge start. With Grayson down 1-0 in the bottom of the first, Catherine Vaughan doubled and scored on Spurlin’s single to tie the game. Jessica Caudill doubled to left, and though Vaughan wasn’t able to score on the play, everybody trotted home when Crigger launched a three-run home run over the centerfield fence for a quick 4-1 Grayson County lead. Some confusion on a third strike in the dirt led to a crucial Grayson County rally in the bottom of the fourth. Spurlin stood at first with a two-out single when Caudill struck out on a pitch in the dirt. A dropped third strike with first base occupied is an automatic out with less than two outs, but is a live ball with two out. The play resulted in an error, two runners on and Crigger at the plate, where she delivered an RBI single. Autumn Pierce followed with a two-run double to centerfield for a 7-1 Grayson County lead. The rally appeared to be just icing on the cake, but Pierce’s RBIs proved to be the winning margin after the Cavaliers had made their late charge. Vaughan and Crigger each had three hits in the Blue Devils’ 12-hit attack, with Crigger driving in five. Cannaday and Hill had two hits apiece for the Cavaliers. Hensley worked a solid five innings for the pitching win, giving up four earned runs on seven hits, striking out three.   Carroll County.........100  014  0––6   9   3 Grayson County......400  301  x––8  12  1

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Kimble and Nunn. Hensley, Spurlin (6) and Vaughan. WP – Hensley. LP – Kimble. Sv. – Spurlin. HR – Crigger (GC) , 1st, two on. 2B – Vaughan, Caudill, Pierce (GC), Cannaday (CC).