Scott's Johnson comes through vs. Herbert Hoover
FALLING ROCK, W.Va. -- Scott senior shortstop Allyson Johnson had not had a game quite like she is used to having Thursday at Herbert Hoover, but that all changed in the seventh inning.
In a 2-2 game with two outs and the bases open, the Huskies made the choice to pitch to Johnson and paid for it. Johnson, who has been playing with a broken ring finger on her right hand, smacked a solo home run over the left field fence for what proved to be the winning run in the Skyhawks' 3-2 win in a game between two of the better Class AA teams in the state.
Johnson reached on an error and scored in the first, popped out in the third and reached base on a fielder's choice in the fifth (after an 18-pitch at-bat) before the decisive strike off Hoover's Allison Rager in the final inning.
"Usually in a battle like she had each time up it eventually goes to the batter," Scott coach D.A. Harless said. "I wouldn't pitch to her but I'm glad they did."
Hoover coach Missy Smith said giving Johnson a free pass was something she never considered.
"It's not really a part of our philosophy to walk hitters," she said. "I always believe in our pitchers. Sometimes they win and sometimes you win."
Scott (19-7) opened the scoring in the first thanks to back-to-back Herbert Hoover errors in the infield that kept the inning alive. Hoover answered in its half of the first when leadoff hitter Mikayla Craze reached on a double and came around to score on Caroline Thornburg's groundout to Skyhawks pitcher Ally Brown.
Harless said it was important for his team to get off to a fast start and carry the momentum forward from a 7-6 comeback win on Wednesday against Sherman. Prior to that the Skyhawks had lost three consecutive games.
"It was major for us to get off quick," he said. "Just for them to know that we're back."
Hoover tied the game in the fourth inning when McKenzie Edmons reached on a one-out single and advanced to second on a throwing error before moving to third on a wild pitch and scoring on a Zoey Carte single.
The Huskies stranded two runners in the fifth and another in the sixth before Johnson's homer put Scott ahead for good in the seventh.
"We held them to four hits and she's one of the best hitters in the state, if not the best," Smith said. "She went 1 for 4 but it was a huge hit."
Harless said that while the win was very important from a momentum standpoint, he and his team know the Huskies will be hoping for another shot at them in the state playoffs.
"To get to states there's a good chance we'll have to beat them again," he said. "We kind of hit a wall the last week. [Wednesday] night about the fifth inning of our game we started rolling and it carried over to tonight."
Reach Tom Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org