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Athens Lady Hornets second baseman Kara Thompson (right) reaches for a pop fly in the second inning of her team’s 4-3 win over Crockett Friday at Peg Cain Field. Shortstop Bri Morton (left) looks on.

The Athens Lady Hornets have been squeezing every last bit of drama they can out of their home games of late.

As long as all drama keeps equalling wins, head coach Gary Qualls probably could care less.

For the second game in a row, the Lady Hornets grabbed a walk-off win in their last at-bat for victory. This time, playing on Thursday night because Friday is a holiday, freshman Kelli Hollingsworth drew a bases-loaded walk to help her team to a 4-3 win over the Crockett Lady Bulldogs at Peg Cain Field.

The win gave the Lady Hornets their third consecutive victory after starting District 20-3A play with five straight losses.

On Tuesday, it was a similar scene, only with a different player as Catherine Grymonprez got a two-out hit to plate the winning run in a win over Brownsboro.

Hollingsworth’s walk, consequently, also came with two outs in the seventh.

And on a full-count pitch.

Drama, indeed.

“In that situation, with us needing to get something out of it, Kelli’s one of ’em I’ll go to off the bench,” Qualls said. “She was hitting over .500 on the JV when we brought her up for the last half of district. She’s got the discipline, the softball savvy.”

And realistically, it wasn’t even that easy. The real drama happened moments earlier, when Bri Morton came out for her regular turn at bat. Qualls had lifted her for a courtesy runner the previous inning, and he said he informed the home plate umpire he was bringing in his regular starters back into the game as he trotted out to his spot in the third-base coaches’ box to start the seventh.

The ump apparently didn’t hear him, and Crockett — noticing Morton was batting out of turn — called the crew’s attention to it.

Morton had already taken ball one, so Hollingsworth, the previous inning’s courtesy runner, had to step in at the plate in place of Morton.

She subsequently worked the count full and became the hero when her walk plated Kalli Porter as the winning run. Porter, for the record, was 4-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored and an RBI.

The Lady Hornets improved to 11-12 overall. They jumped back into the playoff race with the win, and Qualls said they could be in at least a tie for fourth place by the time all games were played out on Thursday. Other results weren’t immediately available.

“The first half of district, we did not catch a break,” he said. “I just kept telling them when the softball gods aren’t shining on you, there’s nothing you can do. They’ve relaxed a little bit and really come together as a group, and like I told them tonight, it’s not how you start, but how you finish.”

The Lady Hornets close out the regular season portion of their schedule next week. They play on the road Tuesday against Palestine Westwood and then close out the schedule at home next Friday against Fairfield.

Both games are slated to start at 6:30 p.m.



Hornets fall to Bulldogs, 7-1

In baseball action, the Hornets (11-8, 4-2) fell to Crockett for their third-straight loss and second in district after a 4-0 start.

They get a chance to pick up the pieces and get on a winning track again next Tuesday on the road against Palestine Westwood. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

Two home games, against Fairfield and Palestine, will follow, and they close out the regular season on April 24 on the road at Brownsboro.

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