Monday night’s high school softball showdown between defending 1A state champion Trenton and 1A No. 6 Williston was explosive early.
But in the end the game was decided on an RBI single by sophomore Nevaeh Hayes with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the host Red Devils a 9-8 walk-off win.
The Tigers (7-6), who had their 4-game winning streak snapped, sent 10 batters to the plate in the top of the first inning and scored four runs on four hits and three consecutive walks by Hayes, including back-to-back with the bases loaded.
Sophomore Brandy Dees had a bloop single to shallow right field to plate the first run of the game, and two batters later freshman Payton Campbell had a soft single to left field to score Dees for a 2-0 lead.
Second baseman Jessica Johnson and catcher Ella Emmons, both sophomores, each walked with the bases loaded for a 4-0 lead
“It started out bad for us,” said Williston coach Carl Williams. “We had a lot of adversity. But when we came back in the bottom half of our inning, we let our bats make up for the bad things that had happened in the first inning.”
Junior Olivia Davis tripled to right field to start the inning but an error on the throw allowed her to score on the play.
Following back-to-back singles by eighth-grader Baylee Cribbs and Hayes, junior Reagan Geiger grounded out but drove in the second run, and then junior catcher Cheyenne Boggs singled in a run to make it 4-3.
A couple of batters later, sophomore Kendall Smith added an RBI on a ground out to tie the game, followed by an RBI single by sophomore Savannah Rodriguez to give the Red Devils (12-4) a 5-4 lead.
Trenton put the tying run on base in the top of the second inning, but Cribbs robbed seventh-grader Addison Allaire of a hit by diving to her right and snagging the hard-hit line drive to end the inning.
Later in the game, Davis made a leaping snag at shortstop to steal a hit.
“Without that, man there was some great defense out here,” Williams said. “That catch at second base by Cribbs, that was awesome. You don’t see that at the high school level very often.”
Williston tried to put the game away early.
The Red Devils added three more runs in the second inning on three hits and another Tigers’ error, this time a throwing error by Emmons.
Smith singled to right to drive in two more runs for an 8-4 lead.
However, Trenton had one last rally left.
The Tigers sent eight batters to the plate in the top of the sixth inning and scored four runs on four hits and a big error to tie the game.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Dees singled to left to drive in a run. However, Rodriguez misplayed it in left field, allowing two more runs to score as Trenton pulled within one at 8-7.
Allaire doubled in Dees to tie the game.
“I’m happy that we battled but we made too many errors in the first couple of innings,” said first-year Trenton head coach Clint Anderson. “You can’t win games like that. The last four that we won we’ve been on a roll hitting the ball and we made an error or two here and there, but If you’re swinging the bat well them errors don’t really matter as much.”
Hayes went the distance and picked up the win in the circle for Williston, walking six and striking out seven.
Allaire kept the Tigers in the game when she entered the circle in the second inning and allowed just one run on five hits.
“She’s a fighter,” Anderson said. “She goes after them. Williston’s a good hitting team.”
The two teams will play again in Trenton on Monday.
Meanwhile, Williston is back at home on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Class 5A Gainesville. The Red Devils won the first meeting, 13-6, on March 18.