In Game 1 of the 5A State Championship series on Monday evening, Lexington was squarely in control until a Byrnes posted a 9-run 6th innings. They dropped the opener, 12-8 but evened the series on Wednesday with an impressive 5-1 win at home. In the deciding Game 3, the Lady Wildcats took an early lead, went down by 3 runs, and came back to win their first state title since 2001.
Lexington scored a quick 2 runs in the top of the 1st as Jaci Fleming led off with a single and Hannah Kumiyama belted a 2-run blast to left field, her 17th homer of the season. She would not see another pitch in the game as Byrnes intentionally walked her the next 3 plate appearances.
Byrnes answered in the bottom half of the 1st to tie the game at 2-2. A 1-out single by Kasey Widmyer brought home Hayden Bradley, who had singled to open the inning. Courtesy runner Madi Montjoy later scored on a fielder’s choice.
Lexington’s defense struggled in the 2nd inning as they committed 4 errors, allowing the Rebels to take a 5-2 lead.
With 2 out in the 3rd inning, Jessica Senn hit a solo homerun to right-center field to narrow the Byrnes lead to 5-3. Lexington responded by shutting down the Rebels 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning then tying the game in the 4th. Jaci Fleming reach on an error and Hannah Kumiyama was walked to put runners at 1st and 2nd with none out. Sarah Gordon followed with a double to center scoring Fleming. Kumiyama also scored on an outfield error on the play to knot up the contest at 5-5.
Saige Stanley hit a towering fly to left that just cleared the fence with 1 out in the Lexington 5th to break the tie. It would prove to be the winning run but the Wildcats would be challenged to make some plays in the field to protect the lead.
With Lexington holding a slim 6-5 advantage in the bottom of the 6th, Byrnes put runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs on a single and a Lexington error. Haylee Whitesides hit a fly to right field which Hannah Kumiyama gloved and gunned to 3rd, throwing out Hayden Bradley who was attempting to advance on a tag. Later with a runner at 3rd base, Ansley Fowler hit a roller to short which was bobbled by Alyssa McCraw. She recovered, then threw to the plate for a short run-down and an inning-ending out.
The last-chance at bat for the Rebels was much easier as they went down 1-2-3, the final out made on a diving catch in short centerfield by Peri Rouillard. The 6-5 win gave the Wildcats their 5th all-time state title and their first in 18 years. Allie Light was the winning pitcher, going the distance for the Lady Wildcats.
Lexington finished the season with a record of 26 wins and 4 losses. Byrnes ends with a mark of 29-5.
State Championship Line Score
Lexington 2 0 1 2 1 0 0 6 – 8 – 5
Byrnes 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 5 – 6 – 3
Hannah Kumiyama: 1 for 1 (homerun), 1 run scored, 3 intentional walks
Jaci Fleming: 2 for 3, 2 runs
Jessica Senn: 2 for 4 (homerun), 1 run, 1 RBI
Saige Stanley: 1 for 3 (homerun), 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 walk
Sarah Gordon: 1 for 4 (double), 1 run, 1 RBI
Peri Rouillard: 1 for 4
Allie Light: 7 innings pitched, 5 runs (2 earned runs), 6 hits, 7 strikeouts, 4 walks