The Nation Ford Falcons and Bradlee Holeman survived a frantic final two innings to defeat the Union County Yellow Jackets 6-5 Wednesday at Nation Ford High School.
The win gave the Falcons (25-5) the District IV championship and advances them to the Upper State championship series, starting with today’s game at Daniel.
Nation Ford led for most of the game after scoring a run in the first inning when the Jackets committed two errors on one play. Zharne Glover scored on the play to put the home team up 1-0.
Holeman had a no-hitter going with two outs in the sixth when she got into trouble. She had to get out of two-out jams in each of the final six innings, usually from walking batters. She walked 10 in the game and hit two batters.
“It’s hard to battle through the heat and I think that’s what she was having to do,” Falcons coach Michael Kidd said.
In the sixth, there were two outs and Holeman had walked two runners. Makalah Plemmons came through with Union County’s first base hit that brought home one and another scored on a throw to second. After leading throughout, Nation Ford trailed 2-1.
But it answered right back in the bottom half. With runners on second and third and nobody out, Mandy Mitchell came through with a big base hit through the left side of the infield that put the Falcons back on top 3-2.
“She’s produced all year long,” Coach Kidd said. “She’s a clutch player. Cool as a cucumber. We’ve been in this situation a lot last year, and we got a lot of experience and it shows heart.”
Brittany Prather and Ashley Trull also had RBI singles in the inning and the Falcons led 6-2. It turned out they would need each of those runs, as the Yellow Jackets rallied in their final at-bat. After retiring the first two batters, Holeman gave up a base hit and then walked three straight to force in a run. Haley Hammond came in to pitch and gave up a two-RBI single to Tiffany Vaughn that brought Union County within a run 6-5.
But Hammond got Tanijah Hunter to ground out to second with the tying run in scoring position, and the Falcons advanced.
Nation Ford 6, Union County 5
Tiffany Vaughn and Brooke Kelly. Bradlee Holeman, Haley Hammond (6), Holeman (7), Hammond(7) and Brittany Prather. WP - Hammond (4-0), LP - Vaughn.
Leading hitters: Union County - Makaylah Plemmons 1-1, Kelly 1-3; Nation Ford - Kim Ryder 1-2.
Records: Nation Ford 23-5