By CHRISTOPHER WADE
DAILY MAIL SPORTSWRITER
The St. Albans High softball team had a chance Monday night against Logan to knock off the second of the top two teams in Class AAA in consecutive weeks.
The Red Dragons scored four runs in the first inning to lead Logan, but their roller-coaster season continued as the Wildcats stormed back late for a 10-4 victory.
The Red Dragons knocked off No. 1 Hurricane last week, handing the defending state champion Redskins their only loss of the season. The loss to the second-ranked Wildcats is St. Albans’ third in four games and drops the Red Dragons to 10-13 on the season.
“It’s been a wild ride,” St. Albans coach Bradley Brown said. “We are up and down. It’s been an up-and-down season, and even in games. We are up, make some great plays, and we turn around the next inning and make a bunch of errors. It’s been crazy.”
Brown remains confident in his team, though, and hopes it can carry with it the feeling of being able to knock off Hurricane last week.
“We can beat anybody that we play,” Brown said. “They proved that against Hurricane. We held them to no runs. That hasn’t happened to them all season.
“To do that lets them know how well they can play. I have a great group of girls and I know we have a lot of wins left in them.”
St. Albans jumped on Logan early with its four-run bottom of the first. Alyssa Bonham led off with a walk, advanced to second on a passed ball, and Madi Chandler hit an infield single.
Madi Marshall reached on a fielder’s choice, loading the bases, before Haili McKown singled in a pair of runs, giving St. Albans a 2-0 lead. The third run scored on a passed ball, and Amber Kemplin’s sacrifice fly drove in the fourth.
Logan got a run back in the fourth inning on a two-out RBI single from No. 9 batter Shelby Hale to cut the deficit to 4-1, and the Wildcats took the lead with four runs in the fifth inning.
The first five Logan batters reached base in the fifth inning, with the first two getting there off St. Albans errors. The next three Wildcats — Aarron Ward, Sam Curry, and Hana Sedlock — got hits.
Ward singled in a run and Sedlock doubled in two more to tie the game at four. Logan took the lead on a one-out RBI single by Kiana Hill to take a 5-4 lead.
St. Albans had a chance to tie the game in the fifth inning with runners on first and third with two outs. Haili McKown attempted to steal second, but Logan catcher Chastidy Wiley threw to pitcher Aarron Ward, who gunned down McKown before the tying run could score from third.
The Wildcats added an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning when Hannah Kolovich led off with a double, and Ward doubled her in with one out to give Logan a 6-4 lead. In the seventh inning, the Wildcats put the game away with four more runs on four hits, including doubles by Summer Collins and Kelsey Ward.
Brown was disappointed in the finish of the game, especially after the quick start by his Red Dragons.
“We started out strong and that is the first time we have started out that strong all year long,”Brown said. “They hit the ball well, but they hit routine plays that we should have made. That has hurt us all year. We have to make the routine plays.”
Not only did eight of nine Logan batters have hits, but all of them had multiple hits. The Wildcats pounded out 17 hits, led by a 3-for-5 performance from Sedlock and 3-for-4 from Ward.
Both players also drove in two runs. Logan scored at least a run in their last four innings, including four runs each in the fifth and seventh innings.
St. Albans had two hits in the first inning, but didn’t have another one the rest of the game off of Ward, who settled in nicely for Logan.
Ward indicated she just needed to make some adjustments after the first inning.
“Once something like that happens, you just have to get yourself back in the game,” Ward said. “There is nothing else you can do. Plus that mound was terrible. There was a huge hole. I just had to compensate.”
Logan coach Randy Robinette was proud of the effort of his second-ranked Wildcats.
“It was a pretty impressive performance,” Robinette said. “We didn’t play well early but we hit the ball and played real well the last innings. Aarron got it turned around. That speaks to her and her desire to win. We had a little trouble with the mound.
“We had a rough go down at the Best of the Best. We didn’t play quite as well as we have been. Last week we scored one run and didn’t score at all against Lincoln County. The girls were down on themselves, but tonight showed our true colors.”