Story and Photo by Matthew Yoder –
The Chincoteague Ponies mounted a late-innings rally at home Tuesday night to stun the Arcadia Firebirds 13-12.
Allie Bell provided the walk-off game-winning hit after Arcadia intentionally placed Emma Jackson at first base, loading the bases. Bell’s two-run single ignited the home crowd in thunderous applause and left Arcadia’s fans and players speechless.
Early on, the game took a similar route to Arcadia’s matchup with Nandua the previous week. For the second time in a week the Firebirds dug themselves an early hole. Chincoteague batted nine in the bottom of the first. Sara Godwin drew a leadoff walk and after a hit by Alex McComb and an intentional walk to Jackson, Bell had her first shot at bases loaded and delivered with a two-run homer to deep centerfield. Marley Katsetos added another run with an RBI single to deep right. The three-run first inning could have been worse, had Chincoteague not stranded the bases loaded.
As it was with Nandua, however, Arcadia settled and started to inch its way back. The breakthrough came in the top of the fourth. The Firebirds scored five runs in the inning, batting through the lineup, while employing a mix of solid hits from Skylar Stapleton, Bella Williams and Jayda Tull, and making the most of a host of Pony miscues in the field.
As the Firebirds were surging on offense, Sydney Jester was effective in keeping the Ponies from touching home. After a three-run first, the runs stalled, as Arcadia made some strong plays in the outfield.
Arcadia put four more runs on the board in the fifth with a flurry of hits from Hailey Berry, Stapleton, Tull, capped by an RBI triple from Brianna Montross. The score sat at 11-3 until the bottom of the sixth. Berry came in to pitch relief for Jester, and the tide began to turn for Chincoteague’s batters. Lola Watson reached base on an error, Danielle Jimmo drew a pinch-hit walk, and Godwin singled to center bringing Watson home. A two-run double from Jackson and a pair of runs on a ground out shrank the lead to three, 11-8.
Arcadia added a run in the top of the seventh, but McComb battled on the mound, as was the case throughout, striking out two to finish a complete game.
Chincoteague faced an uphill battle in the bottom of the inning, leading off with the tail end of their lineup, but to their credit, they delivered mightily.
Maddy Farrell got the ball rolling, legging out an infield single and was followed by Watson reaching on a slow dribbler. Isabella Custer brought home Farrell with a single to left, and with runners on first and second with no outs, Arcadia brought Jester in to pitch again. Godwin loaded the bases with a bloop single, and McComb trimmed the lead to one with a two-run single, setting the stage for the final act.
Jackson faced few pitches to look at on the night and wasn’t presented the opportunity in the last inning to swing away, but her intimidating bat was picked up by Bell in the cleanup position. Bell wasted no time driving the ball and two runs were quickly scored, ending the game and handing Arcadia its first loss on the season, leaving no undefeated teams left on the Shore.