It’s getting a little late in the season to be living as dangerously as the Franklin County High School softball team.
Coach Tracy Spickard’s Lady Flyers once again fell behind early on Wednesday, this time to the Owen County Rebels, only to score seven runs over the final two innings to escape with a 10-6 victory.
Franklin County improves to 19-11 heading into a weekend tournament in Louisville – the Lady Flyers’ final tune-up for district tournament play Tuesday in Versailles.
Owen County scored the first four runs of Wednesday’s game and led 5-3 as late as the fifth inning before the Lady Flyers rallied.
Franklin County chipped away for two runs in the third, one in the fourth and two in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game, 5-5.
The Lady Flyers finally put it together in the sixth, posting five runs to seize control over the 17-14 Rebels.
“We kind of followed our M.O. as far as digging ourselves in a hole,” Spickard said. “We’ve done that several times recently.
“But, we showed mental toughness,” Spickard added. “When we got behind, that’s when we started playing. We finally got disciplined at the plate and laid off of the junk that was way out of the strike zone. And then we drew some walks and forced her (Owen pitcher Kaitlin Sutherland) to put the ball over the plate, and then we put some hits together.”
Tori Zeigler and Alyssa Gaines had a double and a single each to lead the balanced FCHS offense. Kara Howard and Sydney Wiard hit two singles each, and Shelby Sanders and Brianna Banks had one single each.
Banks, Ashley Hicks, Alexa Ferrell and Ashli Mayes were honored before the game in a Senior Day ceremony.
Zeigler opened the Franklin County third inning with a double, Ashley Hack walked, and both ended up scoring. One run came in on a single by Howard and another on a wild pitch, leaving Owen County up, 4-2, after three.
The Rebels scored a run in their half of the fourth, but the Lady Flyers erased that run, so to speak, in the bottom of that inning when Sanders hit a one-out single, Banks walked and Gaines singled.
Franklin County finally got even in the fifth when Hack walked, Wiard hit a two-out single, Sanders walked to load the bases and Banks blooped a two-run single.
And in the sixth, the Lady Flyers finally opened the flood gates with five runs on four hits and two Owen County errors.
Howard lined a double to score two runs and put FCHS up, 7-5, with one out in that inning. Another run scored on a stolen base, fielder’s choice situation; Sanders singled in a run, and Gaines doubled in the final Franklin County tally.
Howard started on the mound for the Lady Flyers and struggled just a tad. Hack came on to pitch in relief and went the final five innings, while Howard moved over to third base and had a good game from there.
Spickard applauded the efforts of Howard and the other Lady Flyers, for rebounding from the tough start.
“I applaud their efforts for coming back and battling through,’’ Spickard said. “That shows a lot of heart and mental toughness. If we can just transition to where we’re mentally tough and come out of the gate hard, strong and fast rather than back on our heels.”
The Senior Day ceremony was moving before the game, with a nice touch added when Spickard and her assistant coaches decided to start Mayes at third base. Mayes suffered an ACL tear during basketball season and has missed all spring with the softball team.
Mayes stayed in the game for just one pitch Wednesday only because she has not been medically cleared by doctors to play just yet.
“Ashli has contributed a tremendous amount to our program, and so on Senior Day we wanted to do what we could to honor that, so we put her out at her position for one pitch,’’ Spickard said of Mayes, who’s signed to play basketball at Samford in Birmingham, Ala. “She has stuck it out and been a leader for us even though she hasn’t been out on the field.”