CLEARWATER — In a game filled with big hits, Seminole's Tiffany Race had the biggest in the Warhawks' 9-8 win Wednesday at Countryside.
Race, a junior, strolled to the plate in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and the Warhawks (4-2) trailing 6-5. A light mist that began in the fifth inning had intensified, making Race's job more difficult coupled with the biting wind that battered both teams throughout the game.
Race uncorked an offering from pitcher Erika Queen that landed just beyond the reach of a diving Ayanna Andrews and cleared the bases, giving Seminole its first lead.
"I haven't been hitting my best lately, but the team was all behind me and there was so much hype and I just tried really hard," Race said.
Race scored later on Brooke Ours' base hit to give the Warhawks a three-run cushion, which came in handy with Countryside (4-3) threatening in the bottom of the seventh.
Paige Oxendine hit a sacrifice fly in the final inning that cut Seminole's lead to 9-7. Ashleigh Bynum followed with a single to centerfield to bring the Cougars within a run, but with a runner in scoring position, Seminole pitcher Jennie Sittloh (2-0), who went the distance, struck out the final two batters to give the Warhawks a victory against a team they have had little recent success against.
"This was a big comeback," Race said. "We've had a hard time against Countryside in past years. It's always been a close game, but this time we came out on top."
Oxendine smashed a line drive home run to leftfield in the second inning for the first run. Bynum doubled and scored on Kristin Hubbard's sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.
Sarah Read doubled sharply down the leftfield line in the third to score the Warhawks' first run. Trailing 3-1 in the fourth, Ali Bobo and Emily Crawford laced back-to-back RBI singles to tie the game.
Countryside got two runs in the fourth to again take the lead. Sittloh crushed a home run in the fifth to make it 5-4. A wild pitch gave Countryside a two-run cushion in the bottom of the fifth before Race's heroics.