Thursday night’s Elkin and East Wilkes conference softball game is exactly what a person wants to see when two conference rivals meet — passion, anger, cheering, and an overall great game. Elkin and East Wilkes were both coming off of a two-game win streak before Thursday’s game. This was the first time the two teams have met this season, and they both left everything on the field.
The first inning saw Elkin play some of its best defense this season. Although they allowed a triple by Olivia Bullard with the first at-bat, the Lady Elks made up for it when East Wilkes’ Taylor Tharpe hit the ball to Elkin’s Kirstan Beaver at shortstop. Beaver made the play at first to get Tharpe out, and with lightning speed first baseman Casey Matthews threw the ball home to get Bullard out for a double play.
Elkin’s Beaver earned a walk to start the bottom of the first. Bayle Wood stepped up to the plate and smashed the ball into left field to earn a triple and bring Beaver across the plate. With the score 1-0, Matthews found herself at the plate with one out and a runner on third. Matthews decided to make the score 2-0 as she earned a single to bring Wood home. Elkin took the lead after one complete inning with a lead of 2-0.
The next few innings saw some great field play by both East Wilkes and Elkin. In the top of the third, Elkin third baseman Mackenzie Tilley made a diving catch to earn an out for the Elks. In the top of the third, East Wilkes started to make their comeback as Bullard made the score 2-1 off of a hit up the middle by Lauren Rakes. It took East Wilkes three more innings before they tied the game in the top of the sixth. With no outs and runners on first and second, Brie Jarvis hit the ball to right field to bring Bullard across the plate again and make the score 2-2.
With the score tied, Elkin knew they had to step up to the plate and hit the ball if they wanted to come away with the win. In the bottom of the sixth, Nicole Collins started the inning off with a bunt. With a runner on first, Chloe Osborne got out at first but she moved Collins to second. With the go-ahead runner now on second, Tilley stepped up next and hit the up the middle to earn a single and send Collins to third. Collins wasn’t happy with staying at third, because on the next pitch she stole home and was safe at the plate to make the score 3-2 in Elkin’s favor.
East Wilkes tried to battle back in the seventh inning, but they came up just short. After seven innings Elkin came away with the 3-2 win over East Wilkes.
The win takes Elkin to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the MVAC Conference.
East Wilkes falls to 4-5 overall and 2-2 in the MVAC Conference.
Kristian Russell can be reached at 336-258-4052 or on Twitter @YadkinElkSports.