After 8.5 scoreless innings, one hit was the difference in the first game of the 3A best-of-three state softball championship series between Fred T. Foard and C.B. Aycock on Saturday.
A single by Rebecca Rowe in the bottom of the ninth brought home pitcher Lexi Shubert's courtesy runner, Jessie Miller, from third base to give the Lady Tigers a 1-0 victory. Foard leads also takes a 1-0 series advantage.
Rowe said the play made up for her two errors and two strikeouts up to that point in the game.
"I knew I just had to get the ball into the outfield," she said. "We only had one out, so if they would have caught it, the run still would have scored."
Shubert tossed all nine innings on the mound in game one, allowing two hits, one walk and struck out 12 Falcon batters in the game.
In seven 3A playoff contests so far, Shubert has struck out 96 batters, including double-digit strikeouts in 7-of-8 games (18, 14, 13, 18, 12, 9, 12).
Shubert's leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth led off the inning, which ended up being the winning run.
"When I went out there to hit, dad was walking with me and told me it was my turn," she said. "He said we needed a big hit. I got us that double."
Coach Davis Shubert said he noticed a tendency in Aycock pitcher Brooke Bell that helped him when talking to Lexi.
"(Bell) was throwing a lot of first-pitch strikes," said Foard coach David Shubert. "There was no guarantee of that, but I told Lexi to be ready. We needed her on base. If you can get that leadoff batter on, it opens up so many more things. We already had Taylor (Brown) lined up to bunt. Getting a double got us two bases. Now, we could bunt to the runner to third and have more ways to score."
Brown successfully bunted over courtesy runner Miller and a batter later, Rowe's single sent the Foard crowd and bench into an uproar as they celebrated on the field.
The Lady Tigers held Falcons first baseman Meredith Boroughs in check in the game.
Boroughs, who hit 17 home runs and drove in 42 RBIs during the season, reached base three times (twice on errors and once on a walk), but went 0-1 in her only official at-bat.
The second game is slated to start at approximately 2:30 p.m.