How do you top a two-run home run to flip a one-run deficit into a one-run lead in the fifth?
Easy … you connect on a walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift your team to a thrilling tournament-opening win.
That’s exactly what Delaware Hayes’ Myaih Cloud did, at least, finishing 3-for-4 with two home runs, two runs scored and four knocked in to lift the sixth-seeded Pacers to a 7-6 Division I district semifinal win over visiting Newark Monday night in Delaware.
Hayes struggled a bit against Newark’s Jaylen Jackson up until the fifth, when Lauren Tompkins and Cloud hit back-to-back rockets to flip the momentum in the Pacers’ favor. Tompkins started things with a one-out double to the gap in left before Cloud ripped one over the center field fence to make it a 4-3 game.
Hayes added two huge insurance runs in the sixth. Brianna Richey tripled home Sophia Salem to bump the edge to 5-3 before scoring on an error one batter later.
The 26th-seeded Wildcats didn’t go down quietly, knotting things up with three in the seventh, all coming with two out. Meah Morris came up with a clutch two-run single before Chelsea Swonger singled home Jackson with the tying run.
The smiles in the Newark dugout didn’t last long, though, as Cloud led off the seventh with her game-winning blast.
Tompkins backed Cloud with three hits of her own, including two doubles, while scoring twice. Addy Tope, Salem, Olivia Nelson and Richey finished with a single apiece.
Maddie Kiss, just a freshman, was steady as well. She allowed six runs on 10 hits, but got a handful of huge outs when she needed them. She struck out seven and walked just one en route to the complete-game win.
Alasandra Spears led Newark with three hits and a two runs while Jackson was pegged with the loss in the circle, allowing seven runs on 10 hits. She struck out six in six innings of work.
Next up, Hayes will travel to third-seeded Mount Vernon for Wednesday’s district championship.
Worthington Kilbourne opened tournament play with a win, using a pair of three-run innings to create some separation on the way to a 7-1 Division I sectional semifinal win over visiting Delaware Hayes Monday night.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the second, 24th-seeded Kilbourne used a three-run third to take control. Hayes got a run back in the sixth, but the Wolves added three more in the bottom half to all but seal the deal.
The Pacers managed just three hits — singles by Drew Williams, Austin Dowell and Brennan Green — with Green knocking in his team’s lone run.
Matt McGeath suffered the setback on the mound, allowing seven runs on nine hits while striking out two and walking two in 5.2 innings of work.
Groveport-Madison 4, Big Walnut 1
The 28th-seeded Golden Eagles scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the first inning, and made it hold up until the seventh, but the visiting and 36th-seeded Cruisers scored four times in their last trip to the plate to rally for a Division I sectional semifinal win Monday night in Sunbury.
Drew Beckner doubled home Brady Hershberger, who opened the first with a double of his own, to break the scoring seal. Big Walnut didn’t get a hit the rest of the way, though.
Groveport-Madison didn’t do much, either … until the seventh when the first four hitters reached safely to set the table for the big inning.
Cam Drake was charged with the loss, allowing four runs on five hits while striking out two and walking one in three innings of relief.
Also: Olentangy def. Independence (forfeit) in D-I sectional semifinal; Buckeye Valley 7, Newark 5.
Olentangy Berlin 12, Licking Valley 5; Granville 16, Big Walnut 6; Bishop Watterson 20, Buckeye Valley 1.
Olentangy Liberty 20, Sylvania Northview 2; Westerville South 15, Olentangy Orange 8.
Watkins Memorial 4, Big Walnut 1; Reynoldsburg 3, Delaware Hayes 2.