As Dee McDaniel rounded second base, she thought she heard coach Todd Briley say, “stop,” when he actually said, “slow down.” Though she didn't realize it at the time, the slugging third baseman had just launched a walkoff home run over the center field fence, giving Bastrop a 9-8 District 2-4A victory over Franklin Parish on Saturday.
It appeared for a moment that the wind was going to keep McDaniel's leadoff home run in play, but the ball cleared the fence by inches.
“I didn't think it went over because (Franklin center fielder Lindsey Robbins) hit the fence,” McDaniel said of her fifth home run of the season. “I didn't think the ball was going out when I hit it. I just hit the ball and ran for my life because I knew the score was tied up and I just wanted to come home.”
Bastrop (11-9, 4-3) found itself in a hole early as the Lady Patriots struck for five runs in the top of the first.
Kelsey Kelly walked to start the game and moved to third on Gracie Johnston's base hit to right. Kelly moved to second without a throw, placing runners at second and third with nobody out.
Cleanup batter Sami Crook's one-out single through the crease between third and short chased home both runners.
An out later, Savannah Pender walked and Kylie McMurray dropped an RBI base hit into shallow left-center. McMurry took second on the throw to the plate, setting up Adrianna Wilkes' two-run single up the middle, which stretched the Lady Patriots' lead to 5-0.
Bastrop rolled a deuce in its half of the first when Kenyshae Beasley led off with a bunt single and Tia Coleman crushed a two-run home run over the left field fence.
Everybody in the ballpark knew the ball was leaving the yard on contact, except Coleman.
“I didn't think it was out because I had never hit a home run before,” Coleman said. “That was my first home run ever.”
There was no further scoring until the fourth when Franklin picked up two more.
Kelly legged out a leadoff bunt single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Crook's two-out base hit to center. Crook continued to third on a throwing error and scored as Adrienne Pilgreen reached on a fielding error, upping the Lady Patriots' lead to 7-2.
Starting the inning with four consecutive hits, the Lady Rams clawed their way back into the game with three in the bottom of the fourth.
McDaniel knocked a leadoff double to left and Ashley George, Amanda Patrick and Delaney Mayo singled, bringing the Lady Rams within 7-5.
Page 2 of 2 - Plating three more in the fifth, the Lady Rams grabbed the lead for the first time, 8-7.
Coleman coaxed a leadoff walk, swiped second and crossed home on McDaniel's one-out single to center. McDaniel stole her way into scoring position, made her way to third when George was safe on an error and dashed home with the tying run on a wild pitch.
Patrick's sacrifice fly sent George home with the go-ahead run.
Franklin (9-18, 2-5) drew even in the sixth when Robbins lined a two-out double off the left field fence and Crook laced an RBI single to center, squaring the scoreboard at 8.
Just as it had done the entire game, Bastrop continued to battle.
“We just kept believing in ourselves and kept believing that we were going to come back and win,” McDaniel said. “We didn't get down. We stayed confident.”
Beasley struck out four and walked three for the win.
Hits were even at 11 apiece. McDaniel and Coleman both went 3-for-3 for the Lady Rams. McDaniel's line included a homer, double and single, two RBI and three runs scored. Coleman poled a homer and two singles, with two stolen bases and two runs. Mayo went 2-for-3 and Beasley, George and Patrick singled.
Crook was the Lady Patriots' offensive catalyst with three singles and four RBI. Johnston added two singles, Robbins and Pilgreen doubled and Kelly, Pender, McMurray and Wilkes singled.
McMurray struck out six and walked two in taking the loss.
Closing out the regular season, the Lady Rams visit West Ouachita on Monday and entertain Rayville on Tuesday.
Notes: Bastrop swept the season series from Franklin Parish. … Chelsea Fagan drove in five runs with a grand slam and a sac fly as the Lady Rams won the first meeting, 9-7 in Winnsboro.