Wildcats upset 1st-place Trojans on Bailey's walk-off

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Entering Tuesday, the Woodland High softball team had won 12 of its last 13 and seven in a row, but those streaks were expected to come to a halt at home against Carrollton.

After all, Carrollton was undefeated and in first place in Region 7-AAAAA, and it had already defeated Woodland by seven runs in an earlier matchup this season. The Wildcats also came into the game unranked, while the Trojans were seventh in Class 5A.

However, the teams' records or rankings didn't matter when Morgan Bailey hit the game-winning, walk-off triple to left field to give Woodland the 2-1, extra-inning upset win Tuesday.

Bella Carnes led off the bottom of the eighth with a walk and scored the winning run on Bailey's triple, but the game was won in the field and in the pitcher's circle. Wildcats ace Sarah Baynard got the day off after shutting out second-place East Paulding on Monday.

As a result, Madi Bentley took the ball in her first major region start of her career. She went all eight innings, regularly getting in and out of trouble while allowing 12 batters to reach base. She only struck out one, but also only allowed one extra-base hit all game and stranded eight Carrollton baserunners in scoring position.

The Woodland outfielders also showed up in a big way, as they accounted for half of the outs from the third inning on without an error, while cutting off singles from getting into the gap for extra bases.

Woodland's bats had a hard time for much of the game, but the Lady Wildcats did get off to a good start with a run in the first inning. Carnes scored the first of her two runs in the ballgame after leading off the home half of the first with a single. She advanced on a couple of groundouts before Caroline Higdon's clutch, two-out, RBI single.

Higdon would have two hits in the game and is now hitting .379 on the year.

Carrollton countered with a run in the third on three singles and a walk, but the damage could have been much worse. With the bases loaded and one out, after a run had already scored, Bentley induced a infield flyout, and then a liner the very next at bat was snagged by Ansley Evans at shortstop.

Carrollton would continue to threaten from there on out, but Bentley found a way out of the jam each time in her impressive performance.

Woodland is now 14-5 overall on the year and 8-2 in region play, now just a half-game back of Carrollton for first, although Carrollton would have the tiebreaker. The Wildcats are still tied with East Paulding for second, but they'd have the tiebreaker over East Paulding and are two games ahead of fourth-place Kell.

Kell will be Woodland's next opponent when the team resumes action Monday at home.