OXFORD – The Fort Payne Lady Wildcats had their season come to an end Thursday after a heartbreaking loss in extra innings to area rival Albertville.
The Lady Wildcats led 2-1 heading into the seventh inning before Albertville clawed back to tie the game and force an eighth inning. Albertville then hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth to score the winning run and defeated Fort Payne 3-2.
The game was a scoreless pitchers’ duel through four innings with Fort Payne’s best chance to break through for a run coming in the top of the first when Taylor Camp, Laci Blankenship and Hannah Buffington loaded the bases by drawing a trio of walks. The Lady ‘Cats couldn’t bring home any of those three though as Albertville escaped the early jam.
Neither team would score until the top of the fifth, which saw Jadyn Huskey lead off with a single up the middle.
Braden Barksdale and Camp then both dropped sacrifice bunts to move Huskey to third before Blankenship slapped a 2-out, RBI single to the left side to give Fort Payne the game’s first lead.
That lead didn’t last for long though as the Lady Aggies rallied with two outs in their half of the fifth with two singles and a double to tie the score at 1-all.
Addison Eason then kick started another rally for the Lady ‘Cats in the top of the sixth when she led off with a single up the middle. Buffington followed with another single to center field.
Eason’s pinch runner, Lilly Jackson, was then thrown out while trying to steal third. Buffington moved to second on that play and went to third on a sacrifice bunt from Emily Ellis.
Madison Medckie then drove Buffington home with a 2-out, RBI single to the left side to put Fort Payne back in front 2-1.
The Lady Wildcats then had a solid opportunity to score some insurance runs in the top of the seventh after Camp, Blankenship and Eason loaded the bases with two singles and a walk, but Fort Payne stranded all three runners on base again.
A run there could have avoided extra innings as Albertville answered in the bottom of the seventh with a run. Alexis Rice led off with a double and scored two batters later on a single from Jenna Shedd.
After retiring the side in the top of the eighth, Albertville started their game-winning rally with a double to left field from Graci Gilliland. She went to third on a sacrifice bunt before Fort Payne elected to put the Lady Aggies’ next two batters on base to load the bases, allowing the Lady ‘Cats to potentially get a force out at the plate.
Fort Payne wouldn’t get another out though as Alexis Rice followed with a walk-off single up the middle to seal the win for Albertville.
Addison Eason walked three and gave up three earned runs in 7 1/3 innings pitched in the game. She was also 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of singles.
Blankenship was 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. Medckie was 1-for-4 with an RBI and Huskey batted 2-for-4 with a run scored.