PREP SOFTBALL: Nichols’ walk-off lifts Cold Springs over Fairview 7-6 in extra innings

Cold Springs' Heidi Nichols finished with two hits, including the game-winning RBI single, in the Lady Eagles' 7-6 win over Fairview Monday night. (Sammy Confer/The Cullman Tribune)

BREMEN, Ala. – Fairview traveled to Cold Springs High School for a matchup against the Lady Eagles and seven innings weren’t enough to settle things between these local squads. With the score knotted at 4 after seven innings, we went into extras and with runners on the corners and two outs on the board, Heidi Nichols blasted a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth to give Cold Springs a 7-6 win over the Lady Aggies.

After a scoreless first inning, Cold Springs got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second. Nichols reached on an infield single to lead off the inning, then she moved to second on a Starla Fuller groundout. Maddie Pearl hit an RBI single to center field to bring home Nichols as the Lady Eagles grabbed an early 1-0 lead. Cold Springs looked to add to their lead in the bottom of the third inning. Brooklyn Ingram led off the inning with an infield single, then Peyton Kennedy reached on an error. Emma Black got hit by the pitch to load the bases with no outs. Ciara Calvert lined out to Fairview’s third baseman, Kaitlyn Benson, who then threw over to Emma Roberts at first base to double off Hope Speegle. Then a ground out got the Lady Aggies out of the bases-loaded jam. 

Emma Black had the strikeout pitch going early on for Cold Springs as she racked up eight through four innings. The Lady Eagles padded their lead in the bottom of the fourth. Fuller got hit by the pitch to lead off the inning, then a Pearl sacrifice bunt moved her over to second. Fuller advanced to third base and scored on a Journee Swann sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. Anna Rollo then reached on an infield single and stole second. Ingram then drove her in with an RBI single as Cold Springs pushed their lead to 3-0. 

The Lady Eagles made it 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning as Calvert scored on a dropped third strike. After being held to just two hits through five innings, Fairview finally got something going in the top of the sixth. Singles by Savannah Bryson, Kylie Kovar, and Kaitlyn Benson quickly loaded the bases for the Lady Aggies. One out later, Ayda Payne drove in Bryson with an RBI infield single to cut the deficit to three at 4-1. Emily Benson reached on a throwing error, which allowed Kovar and Benson to score on the play, as that made it 4-3. Payne scored on a wild pitch to tie the game up at four.

Neither team could break the tie after that, so the game was to be decided in extra innings. Fairview struck first in extras as Kaitlyn Benson reached on an infield single. Roberts then lined a two-run home run over the center field wall to give the Lady Aggies an 6-4 lead.

The Lady Eagles, though, looked to end things in their half. Rollo got the one-out rally started with an infield single, then Ingram got hit by the pitch. A pair of stolen bases moved both of them over to second and third and Rollo scored on a dropped third strike to make it 6-5. A passed ball allowed Ingram to cross the plate as that tied the game up at six, then one out later, Nichols ended the game as her RBI single gave the Lady Eagles a 7-6 win over the Lady Aggies.

Ingram finished with three hits and an RBI for Cold Springs and Black racked up 16 strikeouts in eight innings of work. Nichols added a pair of hits and the game-winning RBI single. Pearl ended up with a hit and an RBI. Fuller and Swann each added an RBI. Kennedy, Black, and Rollo each finished with a pair of hits and Calvert added a hit as well. For Fairview, Roberts and Payne each finished with a hit and two RBIs in the game. Emily Benson added a hit and an RBI as well. Kaitlyn Benson ended up with a pair of hits, while Bryson and Kovar each chipped in with a hit.

Cold Springs will take on Addison Tuesday at home, while Fairview will travel to Brindlee Mountain Tuesday.

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