SULTAN — It was a surprising move to nearly everyone watching the game. With one out and runners on first and third in a tie game in the bottom of the seventh inning, Archbishop Murphy decided to pitch to Rachel Kirkpatrick.
The Sultan cleanup hitter made the Wildcats pay.
On a full count, the Turks catcher lined a single to left field to easily score Jessica Hopkins with the game-winning run as Sultan earned a 4-3 victory in a Cascade Conference showdown Tuesday afternoon.
“I thought they were going to (intentionally) walk her,” said Sultan head coach Garth MacDicken. “The Murphy parents were screaming to walk her. I don’t know why they didn’t. She’s one of the best hitters in the league, batting around .600.”
Kirkpatrick finished 2-for-4 with two RBI, but her walk-off hit was made possible by Daphne Pohaku’s game-saving defensive play in the top of the seventh. With two outs and the bases loaded, Pohaku made a diving catch in the left-field gap to retire the side and atone for committing two errors earlier in the game.
“I was really impressed how she bounced back from the errors,” said MacDicken. “She made a great catch in the gap, one of the better catches of the year for us.”
Courtney Morris was 3-for-4 and drove in two, while leadoff hitter Randi Tuggle reached safely three times and scored two runs for Sultan.
Gemma Miller and Anna Whitehouse each finished 2-for-4, combining for four of Murphy’s six hits off of Sultan starter Shelby Jeffries. Jeffries struck out nine and allowed two earned runs to collect the win.
At Sultan H.S.
Baylee Robertson and Alyson Matriotti. Shelby Jeffries and Rachel Kirkpatrick. WP—Jeffries. LP—Robertson. 2B—M. Kelly (AM), Courtney Morris (S). Records—Archbishop Murphy 2-4 league, 2-6 overall. Sultan 4-3, 5-4.