CONNORVILLE - Buckeye Local's Joe Soos was thinking insurance runs when Aliyah Morelli singled in a run to the Panthers up 7-4 on Monday against visiting Martins Ferry.
Down to their final three outs, the Purple Riders were facing a three-run deficit with the memories of an 11-3 whitewashing against the same team still fresh in their memories.
But as his team took the field for the home half of the seventh, trailing 15-7, Soos was left pondering what he just witnessed.
The Riders, taking advantage of well-placed bunts and five Panthers' errors, pushed 11 runs across in the seventh and held on for a 15-9 triumph.
"That was a complete meltdown on our part," Soos said. "But give Martins Ferry credit. They battled back and put themselves in position to get back in the game."
The inning started with two fielding errors. Morgan Stalder then dropped a bunt down the third-base line that saw the corresponding throw to first sail offline. Two runs scored, Stalder was standing on third and before a single out - or hit - had been recorded, the Ferry comeback had begun.
"Ferry plays small ball very well and they use their ability to bunt and speed to their advantage," Soos said.
The pinnacle moment of the Purple Riders' comeback came with the bases loaded and starting pitcher Cirstie DelGuzzo at the plate.
Every pitcher wants a chance to aid their own cause and DelGuzzo seized her opportunity, stroking a line drive into the outfield, resulting in a stand-up, bases-clearing triple.
"She took advantage and really helped herself out," Martins Ferry coach Paige Williams said.
Kylie Stalder later followed DelGuzzo with an RBI single.
Cassie Hanson then crushed her second double of the inning, a two-run rocket over the left fielder's head, that ended the 11-run outburst.
Not going down without a fight, Buckeye set to chip away at the lead.
After the Panthers' first two batters reached via error, Williams asked for time and brought her girls inside the circle for a quick break.
"I wanted to calm things down and not let it get away from us," Williams said.
Freshman Kierstyn Czuchran drove in those two runners with a triple, an inning after she drove in two with a homer.
But DelGuzzo retired the next 3 of 4, ending the comeback by inducing a 5-3 groundout from Sydney Omaits.
Kylie Stalder tied DelGuzzo with three RBI to lead the Riders (2-3), while Morgan Stalder and Hanson drove in two apiece.
Kaylee Decesare drove in two with a double and a triple while Tori Nest had two run-scoring singles for the Panthers (5-4), who outhit Ferry 12-10.