Keystone Wildcats win on Carleigh Herrington's walk-off blast

LAGRANGE — If Keystone junior Carleigh Herrington’s season goes like her opening day, she is going to have one heck of a season.

Herrington hit her second home run of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the defending Division II state champions a 5-3 walk-off, non-conference win over Westlake on Tuesday.

“I swung hard and both of them went over,” Herrington said. “It’s so exciting and it’s a great way to start the season. We put in so much work on hitting in the offseason. It shows hard work does pay off.”

The Wildcats (1-0) tied the game at three in the bottom of the fifth inning. Neither team was able to score to force extra innings.

In the bottom of the eighth, Morgan McNulty led off with a single to left field to bring up Herrington. With the count 1-0, Herrington blasted her second home run of the game, easily clearing the center field fence. As she touched home plate, she was mobbed by her teammates to celebrate the win. After hitting only two home runs last season, Herrington was thrilled about her day at the plate.

“This is the first time I ever hit two home runs in a game,” she said. “Both of them (home runs) came on outside pitches.”

Keytone coach Jim Piazza had a feeling Herrington was going to come through in the end.

“In our huddle, I told the girls Morgan is going to get on base and Carleigh is going to have the game-winning hit,” Piazza said. “She is going to be a big-time player for us.”

Westlake (0-1) took an early 1-0 lead with Erin Brown scoring on an error in the top of the first inning. After Herrington’s first home run tied it, the Demons regained the lead on a Katie Lew sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Danielle Dill.

Lew, who is only a freshman, kept the Wildcats in check for the next three innings. Mixing up her pitches and displaying an outstanding change-up, Keystone struggled to get anything going ... until the fifth inning.

Sarah Lowman’s single scored courtesy runner Julie Plas. Lowman scored the tying run on Destiny Weber’s double to left-center which led to Herrington’s heroics in the bottom of the eighth.

“Our kids made the right adjustments,” Piazza said. “It’s been our M.O. for the past couple of years. See the pitcher in the first couple of innings and make the adjustments later on. They are starting to believe in Keystone softball.”

Though Lew suffered the loss, she was very good. She struck out nine and gave up seven hits, while going the distance. Westlake coach Tom Shiban was happy to see the young pitcher do so well.

The Demons’ offense (eight hits) made consistent contact throughout the game against Keystone pitchers, but was hoping the hits could come at the right time.

“I’m proud of the girls,” Shiban said. “We hit the ball well. We had some chances, but couldn’t get any hits when we had runners on.”

The Demons had a chance to break the game open in the top of the fourth inning, putting runners on first and second with no outs. However, pitcher Emily Cornish retired the next three batters to keep it close.

Cornish were relieved by Lowman (1-0) in the sixth inning with Westlake having runners on first and second and no outs. After getting an infield fly rule out, Keystone ended the inning with a double play.

Both teams played well in the cold weather with only one error being committed.

Keystone travels to Kentucky on Wednesday and will play Black River on Saturday. Westlake hosts Avon on Thursday.

Keystone 5, Westlake 3

Non-Conference

Westlake (0-1) 120 000 00 — 3 8 0

Keystone (1-0) 100 020 02 — 5 7 1

TWO HITS OR MORE – Westlake: Mackenzie Smith, Gina Campo; Keystone: Carleigh Herrington; 2B – W: Campo, Erin Brown, Rachel May; K: Destiny Weber; HR – K: Herrington (2); WP – Sarah Loman (1-0); LP – Katie Lew (0-1).

@MJournalSports

Last Updated: 4/2/2013 11:17:29 PM EST

From the Bleachers

See All