By Jerry Holsworth - firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Page County's Kori Jenkins smashed a triple to right-center field that scored Kristy McDaniel for the go-ahead run to end a marathon 10-inning pitchers' duel and deliver a 4-2 win against Warren County on Monday.
"It's been a long time since I've been in a situation like that," Jenkins said. "We just never gave up, and I think that is the real reason we won tonight. We've got a really good team and we just refuse to give up no matter who we play."
The extra-inning heroics by Jenkins and the Panthers spoiled a record-breaking performance by Wildcats pitcher Nicole King. The Warren County sophomore took the loss after 10 brilliant innings of work. King registered a school-record 19 strikeouts, and finished the game with 135 strikeouts through the Wildcats' nine games so far this season.
"I really thought that we played a good game tonight," King said. "We've improved a lot. I was just trying to hit my spots and throw strikes. The umpire was giving me the outside corner, so I pitched a lot of balls in that direction."
Although Page County was able to get the win, King made things extremely difficult. She struck out nine straight batters through the third, fourth and fifth innings, and struck out every Panthers batter at least once. She gave up four runs on six hits and didn't surrender a walk.
"This was a very exciting game," Panthers coach Alan Knight said. "All three pitchers pitched a great game. This was a very big win for us. Warren County has a very good team."
Kaitlyn Morris got the win for Page County, allowing no runs on four hits through six innings in relief of Kristy McDaniel. Morris struck out six and didn't allow a walk. In fact, none of the three pitchers allowed a walk.
McDaniel gave up Warren County's only two runs of the game on four hits. She struck out three through four innings.
Page County jumped ahead 1-0 in the second inning thanks to a leadoff double by Danni Short. The Wildcats were able to get the next two Panthers out, but a popped-up bunt by McDaniel slipped out of Wildcats third baseman Brianna Caison's glove, keeping the inning alive. Another Warren County error on another infield pop-up scored Short from third base.
Caison used her bat in the fourth to get even for her error. With King and Nicci Hutzell on second and third, Caison drove a McDaniel pitch to right center to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
"This was really exciting," Caison said. "I never thought that I'd be in a situation like that as a freshman in high school, but I was ready."
Caison led the Wildcats at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
Page County tied the score in the sixth when a bunt single by Short scored Caitlin Viafora from third.
Warren County looked as though it was going to win the game despite the tying run in the sixth. The Wildcats put a runner on third base in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings, only to come away without a run.
"It was frustrating to have runners on third and not be able to get them home," Wildcats coach Justin Stock said. "But it was still nice to see us get runners on third. We haven't done much of that this year. We just weren't able to get one to drop for us. We hit the [ball] hard; we just hit it right at them."
The Panthers' Short and McDaniel each went 2-for-4 and scored a run.