By Greg Brill - firstname.lastname@example.org
QUICKSBURG -- Emily Workman really couldn't believe she hit it that "far."
Part of that mindset was in place because hits have been hard to come by for the senior center fielder. But there Workman was in the fifth inning of a tie game and her Buffalo Gap Bison needing a clutch, two-out hit to gain control of the game.
Getting a good pitch to drive, Workman made solid contact against Stonewall Jackson pitcher Samantha Somers and went down the first-base line watching with delight as her fly ball sailed far over the head of left fielder Keyana Phelps.
By the time Phelps got the relay back in, two runs had crossed, Workman had a stand-up double and the Bison had the lead for good.
Workman had three hits and three RBIs as Buffalo Gap broke out in a big way with its 7-1 Shenandoah District softball win on Tuesday night at North Fork Middle School.
"It kind of shocked me because I haven't been hitting very well lately," Workman said. "Tonight was a huge shocker for me, but I'm happy how it turned out. I liked the [key hit] that went into left field. I've never hit one that far before."
While Buffalo Gap (2-6, 1-2) broke out with its 10-hit attack, Stonewall Jackson was left frustrated after leaving the bases loaded twice.
The Generals loaded the bases with one out in the third, but Buffalo Gap pitcher Ashleah Ott retired both Savannah Ludwig and Jazmin Wimer on infield line-outs.
Trailing 4-1 in the sixth, Stonewall Jackson (1-10, 0-3) put together an instant rally. Wimer (2-for-4) grounded a leadoff single to left, Cassie Conley reached on an infield error and Phelps drew the only walk given up by Ott.
A fly-ball out to center by Haley Stover wasn't deep enough for Stonewall Jackson coach Mike Hunt to feel confident having Wimer tag after the catch. Marisa Moomaw then popped up to short and Ott escaped another serious threat by striking out Somers.
"Ashleah pitched well," Buffalo Gap coach Lisa Morris said. "Definitely, this was Ashleah's best game of the season. I know she [can do this], and today, the defense was behind her. It makes a difference.
"She was throwing to location, her change-up was working. All pitches. It was a big boost for her, and she needed it."
A senior, Ott (2-5) changed speeds well and worked both ends of the plate. All told, Ott spaced seven hits and struck out six.
"I was just placing my pitches and hoping to get them where they would swing," Ott said. "It all ended up working out. I'm pretty happy."
The Generals left nine on base, including six in scoring position.
"They got key hits with runners in scoring position and we didn't," Hunt said. "We got runners on, [but] just couldn't get the key hit. Some of that is confidence. We've got to hit in those situations and gain some confidence. I'm not sure we have [confidence] right now, but it's something we're working on."
Stonewall Jackson scored its only run in the fourth when Conley led off with a double down the right-field line and came around on two wild pitches.
Not much else was wild about Ott's pitching, as she kept the Generals in check most of the way. Her counterpart, Somers, opened with three shutout innings before Buffalo Gap scored one run in the fourth, two in the fifth, another run in the sixth and three in the seventh.
Seeing her team hit with runners on pleased Morris. The two runs the Bison scored in the fifth to break the 1-all tie were all part of moving runners.
"We've been working on hitting situations," Morris said. "That was a big confidence boost."
The bottom of the order provided baserunners in the inning, with No. 8 batter Shannon Kiser reaching on a one-out fielder's choice. Haleigh Martin (2-for-2, two runs scored) blooped a single into shallow right and Katie Rexrode sacrificed each runner up a base.
That brought up Workman, who jumped on a 1-0 offering to knock in both Kiser and Martin for the go-ahead runs.
Jessica Kline (2-for-2, two runs scored, two RBIs) singled leading off the sixth and came around on Shannon Ashby's ground out. When Stonewall Jackson could not come through in the sixth, the Bison were ready with their biggest frame. Workman singled in Martin in the seventh and Rexrode and Workman each scored on Kline's single to right-center.