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Grady supplies walk-off double, Hawks end 4-game skid

SH?completes season sweep of PCM?with 7th inning rally

South Hamilton’s Mackenzy Grady shouts encouragement to her teammates following a first-inning double against PCM on Wednesday. She hit a walk-off game-winning RBI double in the seventh. DFJ photo/Angela Hewitt

JEWELL — In command throughout most of Wednesday’s Heart of Iowa Conference softball tussle against Prairie City-Monroe, South Hamilton stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning trailing for the first time.

But rather than wallow in the fact that the lead was lost in the top half of the frame, the Hawks went to work. And five batters later they were celebrating courtesy of a walk-off RBI double by Mackenzy Grady.

PCM (3-7, 3-4 HOIC) rallied with three runs in its half of the seventh to jump in front, but South Hamilton (3-5, 3-5 HOIC) scored two in the last half to take the contest, 5-4, complete the season sweep of the Mustangs and end a four-game slide.

“The fact that we never gave up shows a lot of character,” South Hamilton head coach Harry McMaken said. “The girls battled back every time PCM put up a run, and given how the team has been kind of beaten up the last four games, it was a huge win to get back on track and get some confidence in ourselves.”

Grady provided the dagger — a shot into right field off PCM hurler Paige Steenhoek that brought Tanna Thompson around from second with the winning run. Kaylee Oskvig reached base to open the inning and eventually scored the tying run before Grady silenced the Mustangs for good.

Kate Barkema (left), Jessi Harms (center) and Jessica Woodall race off the field smiling after Barkema made a nice catch to end an inning during South Hamilton’s 5-4 win over PCM on Wednesday. DFJ photo/Angela Hewitt

“That was a huge moment for (Grady),” McMaken said. “She’s improved her hitting so much from last year and she’s developing into a pretty good leader as a sophomore. She’s got a really bright future ahead of her.”

South Hamilton, which beat PCM 3-2 on the opening night of the regular season last month, rattled off eight hits. The Mustangs finished with seven.

Grady went 2 for 3; her first-inning double into left-center helped stake the Hawks to an early 2-0 lead. Emma Lewis also had two hits at the top of the order, while four players — Thompson, Oskvig, Jessi Harms and Kate Barkema — had one hit each. Lewis, Thompson, Harms and Anna Lammers joined Grady with one RBI.

South Hamilton built a 3-1 lead after six innings following a lead-off single by Barkema that eventually turned into a run. But PCM strung together three hits and took advantage of two Hawk errors in the seventh to pull ahead. Steenhoek plated two runs with a single to knot the game at 3, and Joslin Briles followed with an RBI single to give the Mustangs a 4-3 cushion.

Steenhoek and Hailey Schutte both had two hits for the Mustangs.

Harms picked up the win in the circle for the Hawks. The senior right-hander walked four and struck out seven. Three of the PCM runs were earned.

South Hamilton 5, PCM 4

Wednesday at Jewell

PCM 000 010 3 — 4 7 2

S. Ham 200 010 2 — 5 8 4

Paige Steenhoek and Riley Johannes. Jessi Harms and Mackenzy Grady. WP — Harms. LP — Steenhoek. Multiple hits — PCM: Steenhoek, Hailey Schutte, Lark Drake; SH: Grady, Emma Lewis. 2B — PCM: Drake; SH: Grady (2). RBI — PCM: Schutte, Steenhoek, Joslin Briles; SH: Lewis, Grady, Harms, Tanna Thompson, Anna Lammers.

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