Thanks to an eight-run sixth inning, the Duke Lady Tigers walked away from a battle with the Hollis Lady Tigers in Duke as winners Tuesday evening.
Kylie Miranda pitched four innings of four-hit-and-one-run ball for the Duke Lady Tigers while also striking out three.
The Hollis Lady Tigers began the game stagnant sending three batters to the plate in the top of the first and receiving each one back as an out in only nine pitches, giving the Duke Lady Tigers a confidence boost and an opportunity to make something happen.
Blakely Dill was the first batter up for Duke and on the second pitch she laid down a bunt to the pitcher, beating the opposing pitcher in an all out sprint to get to first just before Calebi Cusher stepped up to the plate and laid down a bunt as well, turning on the jets down the baseline to make it to first safely.
The first out of the inning for Duke came when Kylee Rice popped a ball into the air and into the glove of Hollis’ second baseman, but it only delayed Dill scoring and after an Abby Jones walk, Dill made it across the plate on a Kaylee Keck RBI — run-batted-in — single.
Cusher was called out at third trying to advance and Hannah Brown struck out swinging ending a potentially big inning for Duke.
Hollis entered the second inning and put two on base but could not make anything else happen offensively, ending the inning by stranding both base runners with one in scoring position after a steal to third.
Kylie Miranda, Kelsey Summers, and Mattie McAlister all struck out swinging during Duke’s offensive possession in the bottom of the second and Hollis took the momentum by putting two on base quickly. A line-drive double to center field would score a runner for Hollis and tie the game at 1-1, but Hollis was unable to make any other moves and ended the inning with one run stranded in scoring position.
Duke shook off a shaky second inning with Cusher singling to left field and Jones singling to right field on two well hit fly balls. Cusher was able to get into scoring position on Jones’ hit and both Cusher and Jones scored after Keck stepped up to deliver a two RBI double around the second baseman and give Duke the 3-1 lead. Duke ended the inning with the lead after McAlister flew out to center field for the final out of the inning.
Hollis managed only one hit during the top of the fourth and allowed Duke another chance at the plate.
Duke came alive in the bottom of the fourth and at times it looked like they would run away with it after putting across four runs to take the 7-1 lead. Miranda, Dill, and Cusher put Duke in a bases loaded situation which was met with a two RBI double by Rice to center field. Shortly after, a Keck RBI double to center field scored Cusher and a Brown single to center field scored rice before a Kelsey Summers fly out to the second baseman ended the inning.
Not to be outdone, the bats finally came alive for Hollis and they put across five runs in the top of the fifth to close the gap to one at 7-6. A Hollis three-run shot over the center field fence was the most notable hit of their rally and a huge reason why Hollis was able to get back into the game.
Duke took over the bottom of the fifth and sparked their own run. Dill was walked and Cusher reached base on a first pitch bunt. Rice’s RBI double put the first run of the inning on the board for Duke as Dill crossed home plate. Shortly after Keck’s two RBI single to the second baseman scored both Rice and Jones, but a Brown groundout ended the inning for Duke.
But Hollis battled back, putting four runs of their own across the plate in the top of the sixth with four runs scored in consecutive at-bats allowing them to tie the game at 10.
That was when Duke blew it open for the win, scoring eight runs in a monster inning that saw six batters step up and reach base before Hollis could record one out. By then, the damage had been done and Duke had put five additional runs on the board and would add three more before calling it a night and winning the game by a score of 18-10.
Kaylee Keck led the way for all Duke Lady Tigers by hitting a perfect 5-for-5 with six RBI’s and scoring once herself.
Kylee Rice scored three times and tacked on five RBI’s in a 3-for-5 showing and Blakely Dill crossed home plate four times while hitting 2-for-3.
The Duke Lady Tigers are off to a phenomenal start at 4-1 on the season and will be at Olustee at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.