HARKER HEIGHTS — The Lady Knights trailed Ellison 9-3 after just 2½ innings of play Monday afternoon, but it didn’t take long for them to rally.
After scoring one run in the bottom of the third, Harker Heights exploded with an eight-run fourth for a 12-9 advantage and held on for a 13-12 victory, its first in District 8-6A play.
Lindsey Ratcliffe spearheaded the effort at the plate, going 2 for 4 with four RBIs and one run scored.
Lady Knights head coach Sarah Cruddas said Ratcliffe keeps an even keel, despite being a freshman.
“Lindsey’s a great kid,” Cruddas said. “She stays very level the whole game. She could come in from striking out and still have the same smile on her face that she has while standing on second base after a double.
“She’s good for our ball club to kind of keep everybody not too high and not too low.”
The game started out on a high note for Harker Heights, but quickly turned sour.
The Lady Eagles struck first in the top of the opening frame on a sacrifice fly to left field by Kelsie Kaminska.
The Lady Knights (4-8, 1-3 8-6A) answered with three runs in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly to left by Valeria Cosme and a two-run single by Ratcliffe.
“Every time I go up to bat, I’m always looking at my two outfielders,” Ratcliffe said. “I knew that I had to get someone in, and I knew it had to be on the right side. She (Livers) put it right on the outside corner — it was a perfect spot and the perfect pitch.”
But Ellison (6-5, 1-3) scored four runs in the top of the second to take a 5-3 advantage. Livers lined an RBI double into the gap in left-center, and Kyla Kronen doubled on a line drive to center to plate two more runs before stealing third and scoring on an error.
The Lady Eagles scored four more in the top of the third for a 9-3 lead. Livers blooped an RBI single to left before three more runs scored via an error on a line-drive to second off the bat of Kronen.
Harker Heights got a run back in the bottom of the third on a mishandled grounder to shortstop by Ratcliffe, and the floodgates opened for the Lady Knights in the home half of the fourth.
Destiny Perry grounded an RBI single up the middle. Cosme reached on an infield single to drive in another run, and Ratcliffe tallied an RBI groundout to second.
Julia Sholes doubled on a deep fly to left, Siann Rush reached on a pinch-hit infield single that drove in another run, and Hayley Brown tripled to right field to score two more. Brown then scored on a wild pitch to give Harker Heights a 12-9 edge.
Ellison scratched a run across in the top of the sixth on an RBI single by Kaminska, but the Lady Knights got a run back in the bottom of the frame on a line-drive single to left by Klaudia Bohac to make the score 13-10, Harker Heights.
In the top of the seventh, Kronen singled to right to plate two runs and pull the Lady Eagles within one. But Jessica Reyes replaced Bohac in the circle and got Kaminska to pop out to shortstop to record a save and ensure a one-run Harker Heights triumph.
“We have a team that likes to fight and put me on edge,” Cruddas joked. “It was nice for them to stay rallied. I feel like we rallied from the third inning to the seventh inning.
“We had a bad inning in the third and kind of gave them four runs, but coming back with those eight runs in the fourth inning was big, and the girls seemed to use that as fuel.”
For the Lady Knights, Brown was 2 for 5 with two runs scored to go along with her two-run triple, and Cosme was 1 for 3 with two RBIs.
Livers was 4 for 5 with two RBIs and four runs scored for the Lady Eagles, and Kronen was 3 for 4 with four RBIs and two runs scored.
Both teams return to action today. Harker Heights will play at Copperas Cove at 2 p.m., and Ellison hosts Killeen at 2 p.m.
“We’ve got to clean up some of our defensive mistakes,” Lady Eagles head coach Brian Cotton said. “When we’re up 9-3, that’s when we’ve got to apply pressure and not let up. We’ve just got to get back out there against Killeen tomorrow, forget about this one and go back to work.”