By Mark Robinson
The Greenbrier East Lady Spartans went to Alleghany High School looking for another in a long list of victories this season. Alleghany, which lost nine of its starters last year, is rebuilding, and has only won a few games this year. But the Alleghany Mountaineers used strong pitching and opportunistic base running to pull off a 4-1 upset Wednesday evening, at their field.
In the first inning, the Alleghany pitcher struck out Bella Coles, put Olivia Ambler on base with a bunt, then struck out Haylee Shires and Shayla Fry to retire the side.
In the bottom of the first, Alleghany saw Elaina Fridley get to first base with a popup to the shortstop. Taylor Poague was thrown out at first. Brooke Brackenridge walked. Runners on first and second. Poague bunted to Lexi Tincher at third base, was thrown out at first, but advanced two runners. Heather Mayes flied out to the shortstop for the second out. Sydney Hepler walked. Bases loaded, two outs. Sierra Wright popped up to first base. Three outs. Score 0-0.
In the top of the second inning, East’s Emilee Vance sent a shot by second base for a single. Gabby Pyles struck out, then Tincher hit a fly ball to left-center for a single, putting Vance on second base. One out, two on. Vance and Tincher both advanced a base on a pitch that the catcher fumbled. One out, runners on second and third. The Alleghany pitcher then struck out McKenzie Little and Taylor Hardiman to end that half of the inning.
In the bottom of the second, Alleghany’s Alexis Schultz hit a ball to the shortstop and was thrown out at first. Allie Graham hit a grounder to center field to reach first base. After getting to second on a bad pitch, a throw from Coles in center field to Tincher at third base got the runner out sliding. Bailey Leitch struck out, to retire the side.
In the top of the third, Coles struck out, Ambler flied out to right field, then Shires smacked a pitch to center-right for a home run. She was greeted at home plate by her teammates. Score 1-0, East. Fry struck out to end the top of the inning.
In the bottom of the third, Alleghany’s Fridley hit a popup to short right that she turned into a double. Poague then hit a shot into right center for a double that scored the runner on second base. 1-1, Alleghany runner on second. No outs. The runner on second stole third on a bad pitch. Brackenridge flied out to center field, bringing home the runner on third, but the umpire ruled the score was invalid because the runner left the base before the outfielder caught the ball. The Alleghany coach objected, but submitted to the inevitable. Mayes hit a ball to short right to reach first. Hepler struck out to retire the side. Score, 1-1.
In the top of the fourth, the pitcher struck out Vance and Pyles. Tincher hit a ball to center for a single. Little to bat. Tincher stole second despite a good throw from the Alleghany catcher. Little was the third strikeout for the Alleghany pitcher. East takes the field.
In the bottom of the fourth, Allegheny’s Wright hit a double. Schultz struck out. Graham reached first on a hit to second, advancing Wright to third. Runners on the corners, one out. Leitch was thrown out at first by the shortstop. Fridley then hit a hard shot to deep left for a double that scored Wright, and put Graham on third base. Score 2-1, Alleghany. Two outs, runners at second and third. Poague flied out to center to end the inning.
Top of the fifth, Hardiman struck out, Coles flied out to the shortstop, Ambler flied out to right field, three away.
Bottom of the fifth, Brackenridge hit a hard shot into left-center for a single. Mayes then hit a single up the middle of the field to advance the runner to second. Two runners on base. Hepler bunted to third base, was thrown out at first, at which point the base runner scored. Score 3-1. Runner at third base. Wright was up to bat next. She walked. Schultz hit to third, was thrown out at first, but that scored Mayes. Graham grounds to second, for three outs. Score 4-1.
In the top of the sixth, Shires flied out to second, then Fry popped up to the catcher. Vance hit a grounder to third and was thrown out.
In the bottom of the sixth, a shot to East’s Pyles at first by Alleghany’s Leitch was caught for the out. Fridley struck out. Poague hit to the pitcher Shires, and was thrown out at first. Three away.
In the top of the seventh, Pyles popped up to third. Tincher hit a ball over second base for a single. Little popped up to the shortstop for the second out. Hardiman hit to second and was thrown out at first, to end the game. Score, Alleghany 4, East 1.
The game began under heavy clouds, and the last couple of innings were played under sprinkles.