TAZEWELL, Va. —
Call Shaynna McNulty, Babe — for all the right reasons.
McNulty pummeled a fastball over the center field fence for a one-out game-winning home run to power Tazewell to a 3-2 win over the Richlands Lady Blues Friday. Her teammates said that McNulty, like Babe Ruth in the 1932 World Series, called her shot before it happened.
McNulty’s blast scored Emily Rose to rally Tazewell (5-9) to the dramatic victory, overcoming a Richlands (10-6) edge fashioned on Mac Cordill’s sixth inning homer.
“We needed a good, solid hit and that’s what I did,” grinned the freshman McNulty. “Yeah, the girls were kidding me when I walked up to the plate and I told them I’d hit one out.
“It felt good when I swung and I hit it solid. I’m so happy we won here at home. This is big for all of us.”
Until McNulty’s hit, Cordill was poised to be the hero. She hit the game’s first pitch for a line drive double and ripped a long four-bagger in the sixth. Defensively, in third inning, Cordill went airborne and stretched out full length to rob Gracey Cline of a hit. In another mirror image of the battle, McNulty made a dazzling, sliding fifth inning catch in left field to take an extra base hit away from Richardson.
“This (game) always means a lot,” noted Cordill. “We always want to win rivalry games. I was happy to get that home run. It’s the fourth one I’ve hit here on this field and maybe it will be the last time we get to play here. That was special, but I would trade it (homer) for a win.
Laken Sparks of the Lady Dogs and Richlands’ Katie Richardson matched almost pitch for pitch in the hard-fought decision. Sparks, who ripped a double at bat, yielded three hits and a pair of walks while Richardson gave up six hits.
Savannah Barber worked a one-out walk in the fifth and runner Brianna Lowe scored the first run when Jordan Osborne rapped a ringing double to left for a 1-0 Tornado lead. Cordill’s home run made it 2-0, Lady Blues, an inning later.
Karlee Wasilewski helped Tazewell answer in the bottom half. She smacked a single, advancing to second on Cline’s grounder and stealing third. Whitney Saunders picked up the RBI on a fielder’s choice as Wasilewski scored.
Richlands nearly got an insurance run, stranding Mikayla Baldwin at third after she had stolen a pair of bases following a walk. Sparks got the last out on a strikeout to halt the threat.
Rose then slapped a single, her second hit of the game, including a double in the fifth, to bring up McNulty for the mighty wallop.
“Both teams played well enough to win,” said Richlands coach Dennis Palmer. “Most of the games between Tazewell and Richlands are like this — coming down to the final inning or the last at-bat.
“We made some big plays and they did, too. Mac (Cordill) had a great game and McNulty came up big. Katie (Richardson) and (Laken) Sparks both pitched strong games, too.
Sure-handed Whitney Saunders and third baseman Zoe McReynolds both sparkled with the glove for Tazewell and Richlands center fielder Brianna Lowe made three outstanding catches as both teams made play after play all afternoon.
“I’m so proud,” said Sparks. “We never got down, even when we were behind. We made plays in the field and just kept battling. My teammates, every one of them, gave it their best effort. We were motivated to win this game. “
Rose, who also played well defensively for Tazewell, added, “I was happy to get a couple of hits, and to be on when Shaynna got the home run to win it. We need to do better running the bases, meaning me, I got caught once on a good play by their pitcher (Richardson) but it turned out all right.”
Bulldog coach Tom Keene said, “There were two good teams out there today. Both of them made the plays. You have to when you play a quality opponent.
“I was a little excited in that last inning. I wanted Emily (Rose) to get that hit and then when Shaynna swung, it looked pretty good and any coach is happy to win on a hit like that one. I expect we might see Richlands somewhere in the tournament again and you know it will be a hard-fought battle down to the last pitch.”
Richlands travels to Abingdon Tuesday and Tazewell will entertain Virginia High at 5 p.m. that same afternoon.
At Tazewell High School
Richlands......................000 011 0 — 2 3 1
Tazewell.........................000 001 2 — 3 6 2
Richardson and Hill. Sparks and Lee. W—Sparks; L—Richardson. HR—Cordill (R), 6th, 0 0n; McNulty (T). 7th, 1 on.