The bases were loaded in the top of the fourth and final inning. Ellis’ softball team was clinging to a 7-5 lead and visiting North was threatening.
In other words, it was money time.
Ellis shortstop Ana Pickett was up to the challenge, backhanding a grounder and throwing the batter out at first to end the first game of the doubleheader.
“Ana made an amazing backhanded stop,” Ellis coach Shannon Wood said after the 7-5 victory. “I have all the confidence in the world in her. When the ball is hit to her, I know it will turn into an out. She has got a great backhand and an even better arm. Last year she was my rock in center field, and this year she has taken that role to shortstop.”
Bethany Myers pitched out of the jam to get the win. She went the final two innings after River Simpson worked the first two.
“Myers did great,” Wood said. “She hadn’t pitched in a game all year, and she did exactly what we needed her to do.”
North scored three runs in the top of the first, but Ellis answered right back with three of its own. North regained a 4-3 lead in the top of the third. Not to be outdone, Ellis erupted for four in the bottom half. North scored once in the top of the fourth.
“We made mistakes in the field that we haven’t made all year,” Wood said. “I am not sure if it was nerves, knowing we were playing an in-county rival, or what. I was proud of the girls for not giving up. A lot of times we will get down a few runs and kind of roll over. That didn’t happen. We fought hard with each at-bat.”
Ellis outhit North 6-3 behind Anna Devereaux (2-2, two RBI, two steals, two run), Katelyn Webb (2-2, three RBI), Emilee Dishman (1-2) and Sydney Hendren (1-2, RBI).
North’s Brooke Ireland was 2 for 2 and Bridgett Tierney 1 for 1 with two runs. North had five errors to Ellis’ two …