In a game in which Empire junior pitcher Brittany Woolridge didn’t have her best performance, giving up 10 hits, the Ravens were bailed out by the bat and legs of senior Kelsey Smith.
Smith, a MaxPreps preseason All-American, scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball in the top of seventh inning, and Woolridge was able to hold off Tucson Magnet High in the bottom of the frame and finish with seven strikeouts to secure the 6-5 win in the second day of the Badger Invitational.
It was the Ravens’ second win of the day Thursday at Cherry Field as part of the 16-team tournament that concludes Saturday. Empire coach Shannon Woolridge noted victories like this one should help the Ravens toward the end of the season as they try to make a run for the Division III state title.
“Our motto, no matter what the score is, whether it’s a seven-inning game or not, is to keep fighting,” said Shannon Woolridge. “It’s kind of the mindset we’re trying to establish. We’re hoping it’ll pay off at the end of the season.”
Tucson jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a double from Vanezza Caldez, but Empire (10-1) tied the game in the top of the fourth inning with an RBI double from senior Christina Slattery.
The Badgers (7-4) strung together four hits, including three doubles, in the bottom of the frame and extended their lead 5-2.
However, a two-run homer from Smith, her third of the season, and a solo blast from senior Gracie Taber, tied the game in the fifth inning.
“I feel like we’re playing as a team and it’s showing,” said Smith, who finished 2 for 2 with three RBIs. “Usually, we just die down and give it up. We’ve been able to stay up and get hyped.”