Clutch hit fuels Gators’ softball victory

Carly Smith’s third at-bat Wednesday appeared to be headed for the same outcome as the first two.

After Basic’s softball team intentionally walked Alicia Firelein to load the bases with two outs in a tie game in the bottom of the sixth inning, Smith, twice a strikeout victim, fell into an 0-2 count against pitcher Lacey Romo.

Two pitches later, Green Valley’s center fielder changed her fortunes and decided the game.

Smith laced a run-scoring single into left field, plating Kayla Anderson with the go-ahead run, sparking a four-run outburst and leading the Gators (13-6, 3-1 Southeast) to a 6-2 home win over the Wolves.

“Carly is a very mentally focused kid,” Green Valley coach Lauren Taylor said. “She’ll have two or three at-bats where she doesn’t produce what she feels she’s capable of, and then out of nowhere, she connects. She’ll drive it out there.”

Anderson led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, Green Valley’s second hit off Romo. Anderson moved to second on Shelby Vickers’ sacrifice and to third on a single by Ali Bodnar.

Bodnar advanced to second on the throw home, putting runners at second and third with one out.

Romo registered her 10th strikeout for the second out, then intentionally walked Firelein, who ripped a game-tying RBI double off the center-field fence in the fourth inning to set the stage for Smith.

“Our bats came alive at the end,” Taylor said. “They came when it counted.”

Winning pitcher Desiree Laswell followed with a two-run double to right-center, and Smith scored the fourth run of the inning on a wild pitch.

Laswell spent most of the day escaping jams, as Basic (11-2, 2-2) left 13 runners on base in the first six innings. She struck out 11 in a 147-pitch effort.

The Wolves took advantage of an error and a perfectly placed bunt by Brandy Huff to score twice in the fourth. Adrian Brown and Romo each had an RBI single.

Green Valley, which didn’t have a base runner until the fourth, tied the score in the bottom of the inning on two walks, a sacrifice, a wild pitch and Firelein’s double.

“We had some routine errors, but when you hit the ball, those errors don’t seem so important anymore,” Taylor said.

Contact reporter Bartt Davis at or 702-387-5230.

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