Bellaire rallies past Barnesville in seventh

ST. JOE – Elisha Gillespie doubled home Mackenzie Conroy with two out in the seventh inning Thursday as Bellaire rallied to stun Barnesville, 4-3, in high school softball action at Bellaire Middle School.

The blast capped a thrilling three-run frame for Bellaire, which improved to 6-1 on the season.

”I just told them, we have to see how bad you want it here,” Bellaire head coach Melissa Lahna said, referring to the final inning. ”Let’s see who wants it more, you or them.

”They did what they had to do. And it shows a bunch of character on their part to stay calm and to come back because Barnesville played well.”

Yes, they did. But just when it looked like the Shamrocks were on their way to pocketing their first victory of the season, it was gone in what seemed like an instant.

”It’s a tough one,” Barnesville head coach Bryce Allen said. ”This was the best we’ve played all year.

”It’s a tough break for the girls. But my hat’s off to (Bellaire). They got the hits at the right time and got the win.”

Marissa Dipple walked to start the Big Red seventh. Leadoff batter Dallas Messenger then reached on a bunt single, sending Dipple to second.

Daphne Clark grounded out to third, advancing Dipple and Messenger to third and second, respectively.

Conroy followed with a bases-clearing single that tied the score at 3-3.

Mary Garloch flew out for the second out, setting the stage for Gillespie’s heroics.

Gillespie sent a Sydney Ralston pitch deep into center field. Barnesville’s Emily Sleeth leaped into the air near the fence to try and snag the ball, but it dropped just outside her reach. Conroy raced around the bases and crossed home plate where a mob of teammates awaited her.

”We’ve been sluggish this entire week hitting,” Lahna noted. ”Elisha’s been in a slump and Mac’s been in a slump.”

In fact, prior to the fantastic finish, Bellaire had left 41 runners on base this season. And the Big Reds certainly had their chances to take control prior to the seventh, including in the sixth. There, they had a runner on third with one out. But Ralston registered a strikeout and got a batter to groundout to end the threat.

”She pitched a real good game,” Allen said. ”Overall, I thought we played a pretty good game.”

The game was scoreless until Barnesville jumped ahead in the fifth on an RBI single to center by Ralston scored Shasta Roberts.

Bellaire drew even in the bottom of the frame when Conroy doubled in Clark.

The Shamrocks (0-3) scored once in the sixth and then once in the seventh to grab a 3-1 advantage.

Through it all, Bellaire’s freshman hurler Sarah McAninch bent, but didn’t break.

”She didn’t have her best game, but she did OK,” Lahna said of McAninch, who finished with 10 strikeouts. ”She threw the ball down the middle and they ripped it and that’s what going to happen.

”You’ll take that with the end result we had.”

Linescore:

Bellaire 4, Barnesville 3

(2 outs when winning run scored)

Barnesville000 011 1 – 3 12 0

Bellaire000 010 3 – 4 10 1

Ba – Ralston lp (4K, 2W) and Thompson. Ralston 3S, rbi; Hannahs 2S; Gibbons 2D, S, rbi.

Be – McAninch wp (10K, 0W) and Messenger. Clark 2S; Conroy D, S, 3rbi; Gillespie 3D, gwrbi.