WENDELL — East Wake pretty much came back from the dead in its softball game with Clayton on Friday night.
The Warriors spotted the visiting Comets a seven-run lead after 3 ½ innings, but recovered to cut the deficit to a run after five innings. They then scored a pair of runs on a one-out error in the seventh to walk off with an 8-7 victory at Carver Field.
The win put the Warriors (8-5-1, 8-3) into second place in the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference while Clayton (11-6, 8-4) fell to third. The result gave East Wake a sweep of their two-game season series, as the Warriors had won more comfortably, 7-2, on March 27 in Clayton.
“This is my tenth year of head coaching and this was a really big comeback,” said East Wake coach Melissa Bell. “Any time you’re down 7-0 and win it’s a great game. I was really proud of the way we came back.
“We had a couple of diving catches (by center fielder Caitlin Brown and shortstop Aubrey McLeod) in the fifth inning that really slowed their momentum. They were getting hits in our gaps that we didn’t get to early in the game, and we made some good adjustments.”
The teams finished with 11 hits each.
East Wake scored its seventh-inning unearned runs off Kaylee Morgan, who relieved starter Bailey Perdue after the fifth. With one out, Breanna Boggs singled to left, followed by a single from Samantha Albino. Brown then laid down a bunt, reaching safely when the throw got away from first baseman Caitlin Davis as both runs scored.
“That’s softball,” Clayton coach Jay Westbrook said. “We had a couple of big defensive plays and some good hits, and so did East Wake. In the game of softball, it’s never over until the last inning.
“It hurts for the girls, but we’ll be back at practice on Monday. It was just a good ballgame.”
Megan Fullwood led the Warriors with a double and two singles for two RBI. McLeod added three hits while Boggs added two hits with a stolen base.
“I just really focused on hitting gaps and hitting the ball up the middle and doing anything I could to help my team,” said freshman catcher Fullwood. “And I just tried to help our pitchers (Annabeth Watkins, who got through a 42-pitch second inning, and winner Madison Swiger) keep their confidence up.”
Ashley Murphy paced the Comets with two hits including a two-run inside-the-park homer to left in the fourth inning. Mindy North chipped in a triple and a double for two RBI.
“I’ve hit a few (inside the park homers) before,” Murphy said. “I think I had one earlier this season. Tonight we got up early and I think we just got too high.
“They’re a good team and they had enough confidence to come back.”
Boggs said the Warriors just never lost faith after falling behind by seven runs and all that set up the quick, winning two-run rally.
“We beat them the first time and we really needed to beat them again to show we’re not just a one-time team,” said Boggs, a freshman. “On the last play, I thought if she didn’t bobble it I would have to run as fast as I can to tie it. But the ball bounced our way.”