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Wilson keys Magna Vista rally
Softball: Magna Vista 5, Tunstall 4
Magna Vista's Hannah Savedge, right, slides into home before Tunstall catcher Courtney Yarborough can get down a tag during the first inning of the Warriors' 5-4 win. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Sunday, May 6, 2012
By CHRIS PRIDE - Bulletin Sports Writer
After laying down her second perfectly executed drag bunt for her third hit of the game, the stage was set in the seventh inning for Magna Vista senior Elizabeth Wilson.
She already had made two spectacular catches in center field and tied the game briefly at 3-3 in the fifth. And with her team down one in the final inning, she represented the winning run at first base. “Shorty,” as Wilson’s known to her teammates, was playing much taller than her barely 5-foot frame.
Wilson eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by winning pitcher Emily Wilson, and Magna Vista finally came away on the positive end of a one-run decision, knocking off Tunstall 5-4 Friday evening.
“We’ve lost four games by one or two runs, and this is the first one we won, so to do it in walk-off fashion is awesome,” Warriors manager Brian Brinegar said. “To beat a team of Tunstall’s caliber is unbelievable. It’s only the second time I’ve beat them in the nine years I’ve been coaching. Hopefully it’s a momentum builder going into the tournament.
“This was very important because we won like we lost the other night to Patrick County in the seventh inning. Just in one week’s time we’ve gone from the heartbreak of losing to the excitement of winning.”
The Virginia Tech bound senior reached base all four times — the only player on either team to reach safely in every plate appearance — and scored two runs, but it was her two diving plays defensively that lifted the Warriors after they fell behind in the third inning.
In the fourth, she robbed Corbin Holder of a leadoff double with a diving catch to her right on a sinking line drive to the gap. Then, an inning later, she made another highlight-reel play over her left shoulder at the fence in right-center, which denied Taylor Wray of sure extra bases and ended a Trojan rally.
“That pushed the team forward,” Elizabeth Wilson said of her defensive plays. “I love making those catches. It shows I can make those plays no matter who doubts me; I know I can do it.”
With Elizabeth Wilson keeping the Warriors in the game, Magna Vista (8-7, 2-4 Piedmont District) was able to stage a last-inning comeback for a much-needed victory. With Tunstall leading 4-3, Hailey Williams lead off the seventh with a double down the left-field line and then advanced to third after Elizabeth Wilson’s drag bunt.
Following an error, which scored Williams and moved Elizabeth Wilson to third, Emily Wilson lifted a deep fly ball to left for the walk-off victory.
“(Elizabeth Wilson’s) performance was incredible; she made two “SportsCenter” style catches,” Brinegar said. “Then at the plate she laid down to perfect bunts from the left side.
“Hailey (Williams) has been on fire killing the ball, batting around .700 this season, and I had a good feeling of moving her up to the No. 2 hole with Elizabeth behind her. It worked out perfectly with how I did the lineup, and once she lead off with that double I was very confident we could win.”
Emily Wilson had three RBIs at the plate, but her composure in the circle from the fourth inning on made the most impact. She scattered eight hits, gave up four runs (two earned), struck out five and walked three on 117 pitches. Over the final four innings, she allowed just three hits and one run.
The Warriors appeared to squander their best chance of taking control by scoring just one run after loading the bases with no outs in the first inning. Wilson’s first of three RBIs provided the only run on another sacrifice fly.
The Trojans took the lead back in the top of the second by putting the first three batters on and taking advantage of two big defensive infield errors. Magna Vista got the run back in their half, but left the bases loaded again. The Warriors stranded five runners in the first two innings.
Tunstall answered right back in the third with a two-out RBI single by Myra Reese to take a 3-2 lead. Elizabeth Wilson started the fifth after making her big defensive play by reaching on a hit by pitch, and she eventually would score on an Emily Wilson groundout to first. Of the four innings in which Magna Vista scored, the leadoff batter reached base in all four times.
Corbin Holder would give Tunstall its third lead of the game later in the sixth by scoring on a wild pitch with two outs, after losing pitcher Courtney Cook moved her to third with a single.
“We needed something like this to pick us up, and we’re ready for Bassett,” Wilson said. “We’ve practiced hard, we’ve worked hard, and I think we deserved this.”