Vina bounced back from a 16-1 loss in the opener of Tuesday's doubleheader at Tharptown to hand the Lady Wildcats their first area loss of the season in game two, 6-5 in nine innings.
Centerfielder Sarah Johnson made a game-saving catch in the bottom of the eighth inning and then drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth, helping the Lady Red Devils win their fourth game overall and improve to 2-4 in Class 1A, Area 13. Tharptown (10-10 overall) dropped to 4-1 in area play.
Tuesday's second game was scoreless until the top of the third, when Vina senior Abby Hester bunted for a hit and then stole second and third. [Heading into Thursday's area game against Belgreen, Hester has 39 stolen bases this season and 306 in her varsity career, tying her with Danville's Kristy Roberts (2001-05) for second place on the AHSAA career list.] Kaitlyn King followed with an RBI double to drive in Hester and get Vina on the board.
The Lady Red Devils added to the lead with two runs in the top of the fourth. Sophomores Baylee Hutcheson and Greta Raper both singled, and Hannah Johnson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Eighth-grader Hailey Cantrell walked to force home a run, and Hester followed with an RBI single to make it 3-0.
The Lady Wildcats got on the board in the bottom of the fourth as Madison Vandiver and Kyndall Morgan both scored, trimming the lead to 3-2.
King singled in the top of the fifth, and Johnson followed with a base hit. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch, and King came home on a sacrifice fly by Hutcheson. Raper delivered another sac fly to score Johnson and make it 5-2. Vina still had that three-run lead with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Taylor Cameron, Ameliah Dawson and Vandiver all scored for Tharptown to send the game into extra innings.
The Lady Wildcats had a runner at second in the bottom of the eighth when Johnson made the defensive play of the game, robbing Shaylee Wieting of an extra-base hit that would have ended the game. Vina took the lead in the top of the ninth when senior Brooke Brown led off with a double and scored on Johnson's third hit of the game to make it 6-5.
Senior Kaley Vandiver made the final out in the bottom of the ninth on a nice catch for Vina as the Lady Wildcats stranded another runner in scoring position. King picked up the win in the circle, finishing with two strikeouts.