"Even from a coaching point of view, it was a good game," said a disappointed Boyle coach Heather Oates after her team lost to Danville for the first time in three meetings this year. "Danville did a good job when it counted. We had our chances, but we didn't finish the game. They were just more fortunate than we were."
Pennington started the game walking the first two Danville batters and despite some later control problems, she looked back in control of the game going to the seventh inning. Pennington and Beth Brown both had run-scoring singles in a three-run fifth inning that had wipe out a 3-2 Danville lead and Oates was confident Pennington would close out the game even though she had thrown a lot of pitches.
"She is the one we have gone to all year. Our best defensive team has her on the mound and she was throwing hard," Oates said.
Ads tie game on sixth walk of the inning
However, she lost the strike zone. After Monica Vonderbrink walked and Wallace doubled, Pennington walked three straight batters to make it 7-5. Liz Ruth's groundout with one out knocked in another run and after Jerrica Potts walked to load the bases, Renee Chiu drew Pennington's sixth walk of the frame to tie the score.
"I wasn't really tired," Wallace said. "I didn't want to blow the game for us the rest of the way. I've never played a game that lasted so long, but this is also a game I will never forget."
After walking the leadoff batter in the bottom of the seventh, Wallace retired the next 12 hitters, including five on ground balls to second baseman Morgan Young. Wallace finished the game with 12 strikeouts, walked seven and gave up seven hits.
The Admirals almost won the game in the ninth inning when Ruth doubled off the left field fence with one out and just missed her first home run.
"I was just happy to hit it out of the infield," Ruth, who also made a running catch in right field to open the game, said. "A home run crossed my mind, but I was more caught up in the moment and just trying to run as fast as I could."
After Potts walked, Chiu grounded out to first base and Pennington struck out Vonderbrink to end the threat.
Danville capitalizes on second chance to win game
The Admirals didn't miss their next chance to win the game. Wallace walked to start the 10th and Courtney Frye doubled before Amber Wood walked to load the bases. Freshman Kellee Embree's soft line drive landed between shortstop and third base for an infield single to plate the go-ahead run.
One out later, Ruth blooped a single to center that drove in two runs. A bunt single by Potts produced another run and a Boyle error allowed Danville's final run to score.
"I was just trying not to get too excited and over swing," Ruth, a junior, said. "Last year I probably would have been afraid to even swing the bat. I would have been praying for a walk. But I really felt like I could hit the ball."
So did Perry.
"Liz played great both games in the tournament," Perry said. "She still needs to get better, but she came up big."
Two Danville errors led to Boyle's first two runs as Tiffany Webb doubled home a run in the first and Pennington's ground ball produced a run in the second. Danville's first run came when Young walked with the bases loaded in the fourth and Vonderbrink and Wood had run-producing hits for the Admirals in the fifth.
Pennington strikes out 15
Pennington finished the game with 15 strikeouts, but she also walked 15 and gave up 12 hits.
Potts reached base six times - two singles, a double and three walks - for Danville while Frye had two doubles. Ruth and Vonderbrink also had two hits.
Webb and Pennington both had a single and double for Boyle while Joanna Frauenhoffer and C.C. Leffew each reached base three times.
"We had chances. We just didn't win," Oates said. "I can't fault our effort."
Both teams advance to the 12th Region Tournament next week at Russell County. Pairings will be made Sunday.
"We got lucky in the seventh inning, but at least we were battling," Perry said. "That's what we have to do in the region. If we relax and play the way we can, we can compete with anybody there. Today proved that."