Emerald softball coach Chasity Davis gathered her players around the first-base line and challenged her team as it faced one of its largest deficits of the season.
Crosstown rival Greenwood had a commanding 10-3 lead after two innings of play, but Davis urged her team not to fold.
“I pretty much told them, ‘Hey, we know what it feels like to be down, but we can either give up or we can keep getting after it,’” Davis said. “To start the season, we’ve gotten down in holes and couldn’t dig ourselves out and our energy just died.”
The Vikings finally showed the resiliency their coach had been searching for in a remarkable comeback effort.
Emerald scored 19 runs in the final four innings to rally from an early deficit and defeat Greenwood 22-11 Wednesday night.
“Tonight, they dug deep, and that’s exactly what I’ve been wanting them to do,” Davis said. “I knew they were capable of that even in the beginning of the year. They showed a lot of heart and a lot of fight.”
The Vikings’ offense put together a nine-run fifth inning and a six-run seventh inning to beat the Eagles for the second consecutive game.
Greenwood took advantage of Emerald’s early pitching and defensive miscues to build a seven-run lead, but the offense went cold the rest of the way.
“We had good moments and some moments where we’ve got to improve,” Greenwood coach Gerald Gates said. “We did some things better tonight than we did in the first game (against Emerald), but youth has a tendency to rear its ugly head, and some of those mistakes can be attributed to inexperience.
“At the same time, you’ve got to tip your hat to Emerald. They hit the ball really well and they were the better team tonight.”
Emerald recorded 20 hits on the night. The Vikings batted around in the fifth inning and Kylie Mars hit a two-run home run in the seventh to back pitcher Lauralee Scott, who earned the win in relief.
Scott allowed just one run and struck out nine batters in five innings. Davis said she was pleased with the effort from Scott, who started in the first game against Greenwood.
“We have all the confidence in her,” Davis said. “I was a little nervous about how quickly she could get ready, but once I saw her warming up, I knew she had it. Last night, she dominated, and tonight, she was in control and did the same thing. The momentum and communication we had as a team to back her was incredible. This team showed a whole lot of heart tonight.”