Blue Angels slay Dragons with walk-off

By Paul Boggs -

CENTENARY, Ohio — Thanks to a mad dash by Alex Barnes, the Blue Angels doused the Fairland Lady Dragons’ upset bid.

That’s because Barnes, the Gallia Academy softball freshman, scored from second base on a last at-bat bunt by Carly Shriver — giving the host Blue Angels an 8-7 walkoff win on Tuesday.

In a see-saw Ohio Valley Conference clash, Gallia Academy opened up a 3-0 lead after two innings —but the Dragons rallied for single runs in the second and third frames, followed by a five-run outburst in the fifth to make it 7-3.

However, Gallia Academy amassed the final f points for the win, scoring four times in the fifth for the 7-7 tie —followed by Barnes’ walkoff —or rather runoff — in the bottom of the seventh.

Against Fairland pitcher Williams, Barnes drew a leadoff walk, then stole second to reach scoring position.

Shriver sacrificed herself with a bunt, but Barnes raced around third and beat the throw home for the winning run.

With the victory, as Gallia Academy overcame allowing five unearned runs on three errors, the Blue Angels improved to 3-2 — and to 2-0 in the OVC.

Gallia Academy outhit Fairland 12-9, and Blue Angel pitcher Hunter Copley collected a dozen strikeouts, but the Dragons’ seven consecutive markers —including unearned points in the second and third —truly turned the tide.

In both of Fairland’s one-run innings, it scored with two outs —before exploding for five runs and four hits in the fifth for the 7-3 advantage.

However, the Dragons stranded eight baserunners, including twice with runners on the corners.

In the sixth, they left a runner at first —followed by a Dragon at third in the seventh.

Copley tossed another complete game, allowing only one earned run while walking three and striking out 12.

She retired the side 1-2-3 in the first and fourth frames, and faced four Fairland batters apiece in the final two stanzas.

Williams, who along with Runnels and Fridley had two hits apiece, was the losing pitcher for Fairland.

All eight Blue Angel runs were earned, as Williams walked four and struck out five in addition to the 12 hits.

Jenna Meadows paced Gallia Academy at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles — despite not scoring off them in the first and sixth.

Shriver, Barnes and Ryleigh Caldwell collected two hits apiece, as Shriver recorded three runs batted in and Caldwell chalked up two.

Copley and Barnes both had RBI-singles.

Caldwell’s RBI-double that scored Shriver tied the tilt at 7-7 in the fifth.

Copley, Paxton Roberts and Brooke Pasquale posted hits in the three-run second, as Gallia Academy amounted half of its hits in the frame.

Their final four baseknocks were part of the four-run fifth.

Barnes scored three runs, while Shriver and Bailey Meadows crossed twice —along with Kimberly Edelmann once.

The Blue Angels are on the road — and return to OVC action — on Friday at Coal Grove.

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106

By Paul Boggs