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Hall's Backhoe picks up another win
Ashton Whiles 2
Ashton Whiles had 11 strikeouts and two hits to help Halls Backhoe beat Ben Lomand Connect 12-8 Tuesday night. Halls Backhoe stayed in first place with the victory while improving its record to 7-1 this season. - photo by Jeffery Simmons

Hall’s Backhoe earned its seventh win in the girls 11-13 senior league Tuesday night and the team did so while having only seven players.
Despite taking two outs each time through the lineup, Hall’s Backhoe was able to put up plenty of runs in a 12-8 victory over Ben Lomand Connect. With the victory, Hall’s Backhoe improved to 7-1 while Ben Lomand Connect dropped to 2-4.
Hall’s Backhoe started out the game with its first four batters reaching base and ultimately scoring, showing the kind of efficiency the team would need to win. Grace Rains began the game by reaching base after being hit by a pitch, then scored on Ashton Whiles’ double.
Emily Mikkola and Lexie Chadwell followed with back-to-back triples, making it 3-0 with no outs. Chadwell would come around to score on a passed ball before Calyn Damon settled down to strike out the next three batters and end the inning.
Ben Lomand struck back with one run in the bottom of the first as Bri Young hit a triple of her own. Madison Merriman followed with a single as Ben Lomand started to try to chip away at the deficit.
Whiles made quick work of the Ben Lomand lineup in the second inning though. Whiles struck out the side, part of a night where the right-handed hurler would finish with 11 strikeouts.
Hall’s Backhoe added two runs in the third inning when Whiles and Chadwell each hit triples and scored, but Ben Lomand responded with three runs in the bottom of the third.
Damon’s RBI triple got the rally started and scored Savannah Cox. Merriman and Caylie Sherrell would follow with RBI singles as Ben Lomand closed the gap to 6-4.
The back-and-forth scoring tipped back in favor of the visitors when Hall’s Backhoe scored four runs in the top of the fourth.
Rains sparked the surge with a lead-off double while Chadwell and Sarah Ruiz would follow with run-scoring singles.
Sherrell’s second RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning would send the game into the final frame with Hall’s Backhoe leading 9-5, but the offenses both weren’t done lighting up the scoreboard.
The league leader got some breathing room when Ruiz slapped a two-run triple and later scored on a wild pitch to make it a seven-run lead. It looked like more than enough when Whiles opened the bottom of the sixth inning with back-to-back strikeouts, but Ben Lomand looked to rally on its final out.
Cox started the rally by drawing her second walk, followed by a single by Damon. An error allowed Young to reach for a fourth time and brought around Cox to score in the process.
A walk to Merriman loaded the bases before Sherrell drilled her third RBI single – this time scoring two runs.
Trailing by only four after Sherrell’s third hit, Ben Lomand Connect was within striking distance and the team was ready to jump for joy if the rally knotted the score. Whiles stopped any potential celebration in its track though.
With two runners aboard and the tying run standing the on-deck circle, Whiles ended the contest by striking out Ben Lomand’s final batter looking on a 2-2 pitch.
Hall’s Backhoe, which already has clinched the regular-season championship, will try to finish its season with a final win next week when it faces Ben Lomand in a make-up game.
In other girls senior league action, Letitia Lane Photography and Tennessee Warehouse are scheduled to face off Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Pete Holt Field.