It took some time for the Mount Airy softball team to hit its stride, but a pair of big innings late in the game powered the Lady Bears to an 11-7 victory over Bishop McGuinness in the first round of the Northwest Conference Tournament.
The game got started on Monday, but inclement weather only allowed the teams to complete two and a half innings. Mount Airy entered Tuesday facing a 6-3 deficit.
Both teams were scoreless until the Lady Bears found a breakthrough in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs and the bases loaded, Abby Spencer laced a two-run single into left field and Bishop’s lead dwindled to 6-5. Montana Hayden was the next batter, and she ripped a hard ground ball to the Bishop shortstop that forced an error and tied the game.
The Lady Bears finished what they started in the inning and took their first lead of the game with another two-run single, this time from junior Kinley Tate. Mount Airy entered the sixth inning with an 8-6 lead.
Maddison Widener made sure her team kept the lead in the pitcher’s circle. Despite giving up three singles in the inning, Widener minimized the damage and gave up just one run in the top of the sixth.
The Lady Bears didn’t settle with their 8-7 lead. Hanna Hiatt led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, one of her three hits in the game, and Dakota Hensley reached base with a walk. Kayla Hicks was the next batter, and she blasted a three-run homer over the center field wall to give Mount Airy the 11-7 advantage.
Widener came out and worked a clean top of the seventh, ending the game with a harmless groundout to first. Mount Airy clinched its third win of the year over Bishop McGuinness on Tuesday, outscoring the Villains 50-13 in the three meetings.
The Bears will try to keep their season alive on Wednesday in a semifinal matchup with North Stokes, the Northwest Conference regular-season champions in 2016.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16