Karns City softball rallies past Redbank Valley
Redbank Valley's experience is expected to take the Bulldogs far this season, but one of the youngest teams on their schedule produced a surprise Tuesday.
Karns City scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to finish a comeback from a three-run deficit and hand Redbank Valley its first loss of the season, 5-4, in a Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference matchup.
Morgan Deal hit the game-winning sacrifice fly, which scored LeeAnn Gibson, with no outs for the Gremlins (4-2). Gibson singled earlier in the inning, and two errors by Redbank Valley (4-1) on the play allowed Brittany Coyle to score the tying run from first and Gibson to advance to third.
“We've got no seniors, a couple of juniors — most of our starters are sophomores and freshmen,” Karns City coach Buddy Gibson said. “For a young team, this is the kind of win that's real big.”
The Bulldogs committed three errors in the final inning after playing six innings of error-free and, at times, exceptional defense. Their strong play for most of the game made the late letdowns that much more disappointing.
“It's pretty quiet in our dugout right now,” Redbank Valley coach John Sayers said. “It's a lesson they had better learn, or our promising season won't be so promising. We can't just turn it on and off. We have to show up and be ready to play ball for seven innings.”
Redbank Valley pulled out to a 4-1 lead with a big fourth inning, as Darian Gruver and Emma Kennemuth scored on wild pitches, and Alex Bell came through with a two-run triple. That was all the scoring for the Bulldogs, however, as they left seven runners on base in the game.
That allowed Karns City to chip away with an RBI single in the fifth by Ashley Coon and another in the sixth by Jensen Bauchman to make the score 4-3. Coon also drove in the Gremlins' first run of the game in the first inning after Gibson went from first to third on a sacrifice bunt.
“Being as young as we are, we know we're going to make some mistakes, so we try to make up for it by being aggressive on the basepaths,” Buddy Gibson said.
“(After falling behind), we knew the game wasn't over. The girls took care of themselves and got themselves back in it.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.