The top team in Class AAAAAA won’t be determined until the final weekend of October, but a midseason matchup pitting No. 1 Kennesaw Mountain and No. 2 Lassiter turned out to be the next best thing.
And the contest didn’t disappoint.
The Lady Trojans scored nine unanswered runs in rallying from a 5-0 deficit to post 9-5 victory at home over the Lady Mustangs Monday. Kennesaw Mountain (15-2-1) staked itself to a five-run margin behind the strength of eight hits — including three home runs — over the first three innings.
However, Lassiter (16-1-1) bounced back with 11 hits — including five for extra bases — over its last four frames, scoring three in the bottom of the third, four in the fourth and two more in the sixth to upset the state’s No. 1 team.
Mackenzie Kayler batted 3-for-3 with three RBIs, including a go-ahead two-run home run in the fourth, and scored a run to pace the Lady Trojans. She also allowed only one single and one walk, striking out four over the final four innings in relief of starter Sarah Brietbach, who gave up five earned runs on eight hits in three innings.
Veronica Ulicny was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and Elise Sandberg batted 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored for Lassiter. Kelsey Wertz, who was 1-for-3, also had a RBI in the seventh. Carli Kayler batted 2-for-4 and scored twice.
The two teams last faced each other on Aug. 17 resulting in a 2-all tie due to a time limit. They have met nine times since 2004 with the series now deadlocked at 4-4-1.
“This game was a bit of a flashback to the last time we played them,” Lassiter coach Jason Campbell said. “It’s a sign of a good program when a team knows how to make adjustments and we made adjustments against a very good, quality pitcher. Bekah Farris is one of the best in the state, so you really have to battle against her and we were able to do that.
“I was a little scared about how we’d respond after losing our last game to Cherokee last week, but these players showed their resolve to comeback from that game and a five-run deficit in this one to get a win.”
Four singles from Malea Bell, Chandler Stooksbury, Molly Uhrman and Farris led to a 2-0 first inning Kennesaw Mountain lead after Bell and Stooksbury scored.
Bell, who batted 2-for-4 with a RBI and two runs scored, belted a two-out home run in the third to extend the margin and two more scores in the fourth made it 5-0. Uhrman reached on a fielder’s choice in the fourth to put a runner on. Amanda Hallman then smacked a home run in the next at-bat, but was called out for crossing paths with Uhrman.
The miscue allowed Uhrman to score, however, for the 4-0 advantage. Farris then hit a two-out homer for the 5-0 third inning lead.
Lassiter crept back into the game with its three-run third. Carli Kayler and Sandberg singled before a walk to Mackenzie Kayler loaded the bases. Ulicny’s double plated Carli Kayler and Sandberg, and a fielding error on Wertz’s at-bat scored Cara Orlandella, who was pinch running for Mackenzie, for the 5-3 deficit.
Sarah Brietbach and Kelly Sinclair led off the fourth with hits and scored on Sandberg’s one-out, two-RBI triple to tie the contest at 5-all. Mackenzie Kayler then laid a 2-2 pitch over the left centerfield wall for a two-run homer that gave Lassiter a 7-5 lead.
The Lady Trojans cushioned their lead in the seventh off reliever Amanda Hallman behind a two-out RBI double from Mackenzie Kayler to plate her sister, Carli. Wertz’s two-out RBI scored Andrea Summey, pinch-running for Mackenzie Kayler, for the 9-5 advantage.
Lassiter’s nine runs are the most any team has scored against Kennesaw Mountain this season, while the five for the Lady Mustangs are the most the Lady Trojans have given up this year.
“We’re not used to seeing a team put up nine runs and 10 hits on us, but that’s Lassiter for you and they’re a really good team,” said assistant coach Jimmy Whittemore, who filled in for coach Lisa Chapman who did not coach for personal reasons. “You have to give them credit. We got up hitting the ball well against their first pitcher, and then that call against Amanda (Hallman), I think, flustered us.
“Bekah didn’t have her best stuff later in the game, and they had a really good pitcher come in and stuff us in those later innings.”
Farris batted 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a home run, but gave up seven earned runs on eight hits and struck out three in 3 1/3 innings. Hallman, who allowed two earned runs on four hits and struck out four in 2 2/3 innings, was credited with two RBIs. Stooksbury also singled twice.
(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal, September 11, 2012. Written by Carlton D. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Lassiter wins softball clash)