NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 17, 2010) _ Megan Gibson’s two-run walk-off homer to center field gave the Tennessee Diamonds a 9-8 come-from-behind win over the Chicago Bandits.
The home run capped a nine-run rally by the Diamonds in the last two innings.
“The story on this team all year has always been that no matter what happened they have just never quit,” Diamonds coach Ernie Reynolds said. “They just love to play the game.
“This is a great reward for their perseverance. Those last two innings capsulate the entire group’s attitude.”
A season record crowd of 731 fans packed the stands at Draper Diamond on the campus of Lipscomb University.
“Those that stayed were treated to a couple of exciting innings,” Reynolds said. “I liked having Gibson up in the clutch. We were in a good position.
“When the ball came off the bat for just a second I thought it was going to be a double. But it got some trajectory on it.”
The runs ended a string of 20 scoreless innings for the Diamonds.
“Obviously, we have been disappointed about our run production in games two and three and in this game leading up to the sixth inning,” Reynolds said. “We had some pent up frustration. From three through eight in our order we have good swing away hitters who are capable of hitting the long ball and hitting the gap shots.”
Stacy May set the pace for the Bandits in the first inning with a lead-off single through the left side. Vicky Galindo grounded out to third and Rachel Folden flew out to left. Samantha Findley dropped a fly ball into shallow left field for a single that scored May.
In the second with two outs May slammed a solo home run to right field that bounced off the outstretched glove of right fielder Jenna Rhodes.
May struck again in the fourth inning. Emily Friedman singled through the left side and Caitlin Lever walked. They both scored when May hit a line drive double to center with two outs. May scored for the third time in the game when Rachel Folden hit a single into center.
Jennie Finch opened the fifth inning with a solo home run over the left field fence.
The Bandits also added another run in the sixth to take an 8-0 lead.
In the Diamonds portion of the sixth inning Jenna Rhodes and Shanel Scott both reached base on infield hits. Chelsea Spencer crushed a ball down the left field line for a three-run homer. The Diamonds cut the lead in half when Chelsie Mesa slammed a double to deep center that scored Carly Wynn who was pinch-running for Loryn Johnson.
Gibson, who had walked , scored on sacrifice fly to center by DeDe Justice. Mesa crossed the plate on a ground ball single up the middle by Shanna Diller.
In the seventh Shanel Scott and Spencer each singled. Scott scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Johnson, setting the stage for Gibson’s home run.
Gibson, who hit her fourth home run of the season, agreed with Reynolds that she wasn’t sure the ball was going to go over the fence.
“I thought it was going to hit the top of the fence and come back in,” Gibson said. “I didn’t think it was going to go out at all. But it kept going up and up.
“Our coach in college did a really good job of putting us in pressure situations in practice and in games. I feed off of it.”
Becca Heteniak started on the mound for the Diamonds and lasted 3.2 innings. She allowed five hits and five runs, two earned. She walked two and struck out three. Samantha Sheeley threw two-thirds of an inning and gave up three hits and two runs. She struck out one and walked one. Gibson, 2-7, closed out the game for the Diamonds pitching 2.2 innings. She gave up four hits and one run while striking out two.
Eileen Canney threw 5.1 innings for the Bandits. She scattered seven hits and gave up six runs. She walked three and struck out six. Nikki Nemitz took the loss, her first in four decisions. She gave up three hits and three runs in one inning.
The series, which is tied at 2-2, concludes Sunday afternoon at 2. Finch is expected to pitch for the Bandits. Monica Abbott is scheduled to pitch for the Diamonds.
DIAMOND GEMS: The Diamonds sent 10 batters to the plate as they scored six runs in the sixth. …There were four home runs in the game with each team hitting two home runs. …It was the first home run of the season for Finch. …May led the game with four runs batted in and also had three hits. …Spencer led the Diamonds with three RBI. …Scott, Spencer and Diller each had two hits. …The Diamonds have a chance to win their second consecutive home series.