CARY — Green Hope’s softball team withstood a five-run fifth inning by Cary and injuries to two starters top capture an extra-inning 14-10 win over the host Imps Friday night.
The Falcons entered the sixth inning trailing 7-4, but scored two runs apiece in the sixth and seventh innings to force bonus softball. Green Hope then exploded with a five-hit, six-run eighth that made it three consecutive wins for the Falcons, who entered the week just 2-4, but are now 5-4 (4-3).
“I’m very proud of them, especially being down a couple players tonight,” Green Hope coach Michelle Then said. “It was a great team effort. I was just really proud of them keeping their heads in there.”
Turning Point: After an additional insurance run in the sixth inning made it 8-6 Imps, Green Hope forced extra innings on an RBI single by catcher Cameron Cook in the top of the seventh inning. The outcome was finally decided in the eighth, which started with a walk for Shaelyn Condon of Green Hope.
Following a single by Lexi Ross, Lauren Clifford blasted a two-RBI double for the Falcons. Two batters later, Cook put things out of reach when her single with the bases loaded made it 12-8 Green Hope. By the frame’s end, Green Hope held a commanding six-run lead that held up against two Cary runs later in the inning.
Unsung hero: Green Hope pitcher Ali Then bounced back from a tough fifth inning for the win, making it three wins and three complete games for the week. With the game on the line in the seventh inning, Then retired the Imps in order with two strikeouts and an infield fly.
She also finished the night with 11 strikeouts and contributed two key hits on offense, including a seventh-inning single that helped her team tie the game at 8-all.
“Throughout when we started hitting better, I gained a lot more confidence,” the pitcher said. “When more confidence came, I felt more power and energy for me on the mound.”
Putting up numbers: The Falcons were led at the plate by Lindsey Hilts, who went 3-for-5 with two doubles, three runs scored and an RBI. Cook went 2-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs, Shelby Scott delivered an RBI single in her only at-bat, and Clifford went 1-for-4 with a walk and a two-RBI double.
For the Imps, Erica Hayes went 4-for-5 with two runs scored, Taylor Monce recorded a three-RBI triple and Abby Madden went 1-for-4 with a run scored.
Best quote: “It’s just being able to fight through the adverse situations,” Cary coach Michael Charlton said. “When something bad happens, not taking it personal and then getting so down on yourself that you’re not able to play the rest of the game. Those are the things that really hurt us when we’re playing. We take it real personal and kind of take ourselves out of the game. That’s when other mistakes start to happen.”