Vess' extra-inning blast keeps Lady Vikings in Series winner's bracket
YUMA, Ariz. — Hailey Vess landed a big blow with a clutch home run for the second straight game, keeping the Grayson College Lady Vikings in the winner’s bracket of the National Junior College Athletic Association World Series at Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex.
Vess broke a tie game with a two-run blast in the top of the eighth inning as the fourth-seeded Lady Vikings defeated fifth-seeded Wallace State, 4-2, in a second-round match-up.
Grayson (46-5) will face eighth-seeded San Jacinto, which knocked off top seed Salt Lake 6-2, at noon on Thursday for a spot in the semifinals. The loser will play at 8 p.m. on Thursday in an elimination game against an opponent to be determined.
Wallace State (54-5) dropped to the loser’s bracket and faced Odessa in an elimination game.
The Lady Vikings were four outs away from winning in regulation when the Lions tied the game at two. Brantly Bonds reached on an error to start the bottom of the sixth and after a pair of outs, the last a groundout that moved her to second, Megan Warhurst had an RBI single to center.
Wallace State nearly put together a walk-off win in the seventh. Andrea Hardin singled with one out and Jaiden Farnetti had a two-out hit before Bonds flew out to send the game to extras.
Sage Harlow led off the top of the eighth with a single and was at second with two outs. Vess, who hit a grand slam in a 6-0 win against John A. Logan to open the Series, jumped on the first pitch of her at-bat and homered to left field to give Grayson the lead.
Dylann Kaderka, who scattered eight hits with five strikeouts and no walks, worked around a leadoff single by Gracie Benton as Wallace State brought the tying run to the plate. She got the next three hitters in order to close out the victory.
The Lions took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Felicity Frame opened the game with a triple to right and scored on Farnetti’s sac fly to right.
The only other inning Wallace State had a real chance to score before it tied the game in the sixth came in the fifth. Erin Chambliss singled with one out and a sacrifice moved the courtesy runner to second. Frame had an infield single that put runners at the corners before Kaderka struck out Farnetti to keep the Lady Vikings in front.
Grayson claimed a 2-1 lead when Cheyenne Stark hit a home run to lead off the sixth inning.
The Lady Vikings had tied the game at one when the first three batters of the fourth inning reached base. Stark singled to right, Dominique Rodriguez doubled to center and then Hess plated a run with a hit to left. Josie Thompson kept Grayson from taking further advantage of a runner at third with no outs by inducing a pop-out and a pair of strikeouts.
NJCAA World Series
Grayson College 4
Wallace State 2