MILL CREEK — It’s been said that hitting is contagious, but the intention was never for it to spread to the opponent.
For the the final inning and a half of Jackson’s thrilling 10-9 comeback victory over Kamiak on Monday, that’s exactly what happened.
Scoreless through nearly six innings, the Timberwolves completed their rally with a walk-off RBI-double to right field by sophomore Lauren Steck in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“To be honest with you, I’m a little bit speechless right now,” Jackson head coach Kyle Peacocke said following Steck’s game-winning hit. “We were dead in the water down 6-0 in the sixth inning with two outs. It was just unbelievable how the kids decided they were going to comeback and have a hit-parade and believe in themselves one batter at a time.”
Trailing by six and with her and her teammates down to their final four outs, Steck couldn’t have imagined the game would eventually be on her shoulders, but she was pleased that’s how it unfolded.
“It felt amazing,” Steck said. “I didn’t expect to be in that position, but I was kind of hoping I would be.”
The rally started with a bang on a three-run home run to left field by freshman Taylor Adams. The ball was struck so hard it nearly hit the scoreboard and Adams was able to start her home run trot early as there was never a doubt the ball would clear the fence.
“Taylor Adams is one of the most incredible freshman I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” Jackson head coach Kyle Peacocke said.
“To come up in a situation like that when you’re down six runs — she crushed it — that definitely sparked us.”
In the moment, Adams was just looking for her pitch.
“Literally, I didn’t really think,” Adams said. “I just went up there and prayed that there was going to be a good enough pitch for me to crush and it just happened.”
Though the Timberwolves were down to their final out of the inning, the hits kept coming. After Adams, sophomore Kristen Scott singled to center field and Steck reached on an error setting the stage for junior Courtney Karmil. Karmil delivered with a double to right field that scored Scott and Steck to cut Kamiak’s lead to one at 6-5.
The Timberwolves didn’t stop there, sophomore Alicia Taylor followed Karmil with a single to right field and Karmil advanced to third base on the play. That brought up one of Jackson’s three seniors, leadoff hitter Sarah Casel. Casel, known as a speedy slap-hitter, swung at the first pitch and sent a slow-roller down the first-base line and beat out the throw for her second infield single of the game. Karmil scored on the play to tie the game.
“If she puts the ball down where she put the ball down you can’t throw her out,” Peacocke said of Casel’s hit. “She’s incredibly fast and it was just kind of the perfect scenario and situation for us.”
After Casel scored, Taylor was thrown out at third to end the inning, but after six runs crossed the plate it seemed all the momentum was with the Timberwolves.
The Knights had other ideas.
After two strikeouts to lead off the innings, the Kamiak bats got going with what seemed to be a harmless single by Jordyn August. The next batter, Hanna Bevan, walked to put runners on first and second. Catcher Lindsay Haub quickly brought both runners home with a triple to left field and the Knights re-gained the lead at 8-6.
Haub scored moments later on a passed ball to give the Knights a three-run cushion before the Timberwolves finally retired the side.
The resilient Timberwolves were able to come up with yet another rally. After a ground out to begin the inning, Jackson reeled off five consecutive hits capped off by Steck’s double to win the game.
The key hit that set the stage for Steck game-winner was the one that preceded it. Scott drove in two runs with an RBI single to right field, but when the fielder bobbled the ball Adams — the player who started the rally when her team was down six runs — rounded third looking for the tying run.
She narrowly beat the throw home to tie the game.
“Taylor is a smart player,” Peacocke said. “She’s an athlete and a good baserunner. She saw the bobble and didn’t hesitage and was able to get in there for the tying run.”
Offensively, Kristyna Phan paced Kamiak batting 3-for-5 with a single, double and a home run. Adams finished 3-for-4 with two singles and
It was the first Wesco 4A South game of the year for both teams and it’s too early for either side to make any bold proclamations, but for the Timberwolves it could be the type of win that sparks a special season.
“One of the things about this group this year is that they are a really tight-knit group,” Peacocke said. “They love each other and they play for each other. They don’t care who gets the credit, they just want to win. They totally believe in team. This (win) is going to carry us a long way.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter at @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Jackson H.S.
Jess Lambourn and Lindsay Haub. Sophia Frost and Kayla Ellis. WP—Frost. LP—Lambourn. 2B—Antionette Watson (K), Kristyna Phan (K), Joey Blackshear (K), Courtney Karmil (J), Lauren Steck (J). 3B—Lindsay Haub (K). HR—Kristyna Phan (K), Taylor Adams (J). Records—Kamiak 0-1 league, 3-2 overall. Jackson 1-0, 5-0.