Clinging to a slim lead, the Fireballs needed three outs to preserve a back-and-forth win against Hit to Kill.
Their defense came through.
The Fireballs infielders caught two line drives with runners in scoring position in the last inning to edge Hit to Kill 10-9 on May 20 at the NASA softball field. They stayed unbeaten atop Division B.
“Good solid defense, that’s all it was,” Fireballs player/coach Corey Harrell said. “It was good solid defense. Every time we hit the ball, they came back. And then that last inning we locked them down. Those weren’t routine catches.”
The Fireballs (4-0) led 10-8 as Hit to Kill came to bat in the bottom of the sixth and final inning. With one out, Britt Morris homered to cut the lead to one. Consecutive hits put runners on second and third but the Fireballs defense responded.
Second baseman Phil Haas caught Aaron Murray’s liner for the second out.
“It was a line drive over second base with the tying run on third and the winning run on second,” Haas said. “Just kind of ran to my right and stuck out my glove and it went in, I guess.
“I mean I’m old,” the 56-year-old added laughing.
With two outs the next batter, Mark Percell, hit another line drive. Third baseman Keith Poe moved to his left to make the game-ending catch.
“Well-hit line drives,” Harrell said, breathing easier after the nail-biting finish.
Marcus Williams went 3-for-4 with three runs-batted-in and two runs scored for the Fireballs. Blake Pierce went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and one run. Cordero Watkins doubled and scored twice. Winning pitcher Gator Grissom added an RBI hit in the two-run sixth.
Morris slammed two homers for Hit to Kill (1-3). He had an inside-the-park two-run shot in the third before his drive over the left field fence in the sixth and finished with four RBIs. Casey Walton went 3-for-3 with one RBI and two runs. David Soetekouw had a triple, double and two runs scored but he took the loss in the circle for the Missile Defense Agency team.
“It was a good game,” Hit to Kill player/coach Erin Gill said. “We played really hard. We just didn’t get the hits when we really needed them.”