Fourth-ranked Ragland put together rallies in the sixth and seventh innings Friday morning to get past third-ranked Sumiton Christian 6-5 in the first round of the Class 1A state tournament.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, in a tied game after Sumiton Christian’s Jenna Ergle hit a home run in the top half of the inning, Lexi Goodwin walked and Payton Bearden reached base to start the bottom half. On an unsuccessful sacrifice bunt attempt by Carley Echols, Ragland completed a double steal.
Two pitches later, Echols hit a bloop to the edge of the dirt, scoring Goodwin easily.
Before the sixth and seventh innings, however, the story for the Purple Devils (23-3-1) was of missed opportunities. Although it took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first, Ragland left the bases loaded, as it also did in the fifth inning with three consecutive outs.
While Sumiton Christian (30-28) scored a run in each of the fifth and sixth innings to take and extend its lead, Ragland scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to regain the upperhand.
Eight-grader Shyann Hazelwood and sophomore Taylor Boswell singled in the sixth and freshman Callie Kay brought home Hazelwood with a double. Seventh-grader Makenley Oliver followed with a bunt, which she beat out at first. During the chaos, Boswell and Kay scored.
The win advances Ragland to the second round, where it will face top-ranked Kinston at 4 p.m. Friday.
Ragland was led offensively by Oliver and Goodwin, who each had two hits and two RBI. Kay recorded a hit, an RBI and two runs. Kailey Echols also had two hits.
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star