HANCEVILLE — With Wallace State softball trailing by two with runners on first and second and no outs in the bottom of the tenth Tuesday night, catcher Andrea McKenzie convinced her coaches to let her swing away instead of bunting her teammates into scoring position.
McKenzie decided to become the hero on the next pitch, drilling a three-run, walk-off home run to lift the Lady Lions to a 5-4 victory over Calhoun in extra innings Tuesday night at Bobby McCracken Stadium. Her three-run blast helped the defending NJCAA Division I national champions split the doubleheader and maintain a slim one-game lead over both Calhoun and Shelton State in the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) North Division.
“I prayed to God before I went to bat that I could help my team win,” said McKenzie, who caught all 17 innings of the doubleheader. “I knew it was gone immediately when I hit it. It’s the perfect feeling to hit a home run, but more special when you can win a game like that with one.”
Calhoun’s Hannah Dildine broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the tenth with a two-run single to left.
Wallace State (41-21, 14-4 ACCC) didn’t waste any time with an emphatic answer in the bottom half of the inning.
Annie Holcomb’s third single of the night, a bullet up the middle, started the rally for Wallace State. Kori Benson followed with a sharp single to left field, and McKenzie put the finishing touches on the win with the line drive over the left field wall.
McKenzie also tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth with a two-out RBI single.
“We needed this win badly. We want to be one of the top seeds at the conference tournament, and that goal is almost complete,” McKenzie said. “We are a family, and we want to go as far as we possibly can.”