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Dramatic comeback falls short for Bethel

Keven Scrutchins
Keven Scrutchins
Bethel shortstop Brooklyn Duff throws the Purcell runner out at first base during action Monday.

BETHEL ACRES - So, so close. The Bethel Lady Wildcats fell to the visiting Purcell Lady Dragons, 11-10, in a shootout on Monday.

Trailing 11-6, heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Lady Wildcats needed a rally and did just that. Haylee Wilcox started the comeback with a one-out walk. Nine-hole hitter Katelyn Carper was then hit in the middle of her back to earn the free pass. Leadoff hitter Brooklyn Duff then earned the third straight free pass given up by Purcell pitcher Brook Fleming. Fleming walked 15 batters in the seven innings pitched.

That loaded the bases for Peyton Meiler, who ripped a Fleming pitch over the head of left fielder Missy Nimsey, knocking in the three runners, before rounding third and scoring on the inside-the-park grand slam for the Lady Wildcats to cut the Purcell lead to 11-10.

The four-run damage was done with just one out. When Shelby Spurgin drew another walk it looked like Bethel was far from done. Bethel pitcher Annie Compton then came to the dish and drove the pitch into center field, but a diving catch by Kyleigh Smedley dampened the Bethel spirits. Rae Walker came to the plate with a chance to tie or win the game for the Lady Wildcats, but grounded out to end the rally and the game.

The Lady Dragons scored first in the top of the second inning with a solo home run by Hannah Buchanon. They held the one-run lead until the bottom half of the fourth.

Bethel scored four runs in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead over Purcell. Spurgin started the inning by getting hit by a Fleming pitch. Fleming hit seven batters in the contest. Compton then doubled to center field setting up runners on the corners. Walker then singled Spurgin home before Kenna Schimmel singled the second run in on an infield hit. The single kept runners at the corners and when Purcell catcher Karson Jennings tried to pick off the runner at third, the ball sailed into left field, scoring Bethel’s third run of the frame. Two more walks loaded the bases for Mieler, who picked up the RBI after getting hit by a Fleming pitch, as Bethel led 4-1.

The Lady Dragons answered with four runs of their own in the top half of the fifth to take a 5-4 lead after five innings. They increased the advantage to 9-4 with four more runs scored on four hits in the top of the sixth.

Bethel answered with two runs to cut the Purcell lead to 9-6 after six. Wilcox led off the inning by yet another free pass due to being hit by the pitch. Carper then hit a beauty of a double down the right field line, scoring Wilcox. Meiler drove in the second run of the inning on a sharply-hit infield single.

Purcell scored two more runs in the top of the seventh, setting up the Bethel rally in the seventh.