It was a heckuva rally.
Trailing by four runs and down to its last two outs, Charleston faced its first Apollo Conference softball loss that would drop the Trojans into a tie with the Braves atop the standings.
And then Reagan McGahey earned a walk.
“It’s nice to see a great hitter be so patient and do what it takes to get on base,” Trojans coach Blain Mayhall said.
Ava Stephens then lined a double to center, putting runners on second and third.
A single to left field by Karah Moore enabled McGahey to score and Stephens to advance to third, making it 6-3.
“We were not trying to push it that inning trying to score on every hit,” Mayhall said. “We kind of went base to base.”
Clara Cox then singled to drive in Stephens, followed by a five-pitch walk to Mikayla Lane to fill the bases.
After fouling off the first pitch, freshman Addison Shrader lined a single to left that cleared the bases, tied the score and enabled Charleston to later win in extra innings, 7-6.
“What a big moment for her,” Mayhall said.
The following inning, Kailyn Wilson walked, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, reached third on a passed ball and scored on a line drive to center field by Stephens.
Moore, who allowed six runs across eight innings, secured the victory in the eighth. With two runners on base with one out, the sophomore right-hander struck out one batter and induced a pop up that she caught on the mound for the final out of the game. Moore struck out 12 and allowed 14 hits.
“She (Karah) kept her composure on a tight zone and some close plays in the field that didn’t go our way,” Mayhall said. “Not all kids can stay calm during those types of situations, but she continues to be very level and does what she needs to do to help the team.”
Lane shut down Mt. Zion in the second game as her teammates exploded for 18 hits in a 15-2 victory. Lane scattered six hits across the abbreviated five-run game.
“Mikayla was absolutely brilliant in game two,” Mayhall said. “She had that look after game one when she had some contact at first with another player. I’ve seen that look since she was 9, and knew she was poised to have a great game. It was great to see her with that swagger again. I’ve been begging for it this year. That is huge for us moving forward.
Moore drove in four runs on three hits and Stephens and McGahey collected three hits apiece. Kailyn Wilson ripped a home run and drove in three runs.
Charleston scored six runs in the fifth inning and never looked back.
“That seventh inning was pretty fun,” Mayhall said. “I always have faith in this team that we can mount a comeback. There is just too much talent not to believe it can be done.
Charleston is now 14-1 overall and 3-0 in the Apollo. Mt. Zion drops to 6-11 and 1-2 in the Apollo as only the first game in doubleheaders count toward the standings this season.