Trailing 4-0 with two outs in the fifth inning, Boyd’s Jordan Salmon hit a pop-fly to Paradise second baseman Maddie Terry. As Salmon rounded first base, Terry dropped the ball, keeping the inning alive for the Lady Jackets.
After loading the bases and getting a run, Sydney Langley delivered what looked like the knockout punch. With the bases loaded and Boyd down three, Langley deposited a pitch over the left field wall for a grand slam. The blast gave the Lady Jackets their first lead of the game and chased Paradise starter Kendall Candioto from the circle.
But the Lady Panthers were not done yet. After battling back to tie the game in the sixth, Candioto put Paradise up for good in the seventh, lacing a ground ball that Boyd shortstop Jules Tullos could not handle.
The error was the Lady Jackets’ third of the game and ultimately the difference, as Paradise rallied for a 6-5 road victory.
“I think everybody owned the moment,” said Paradise coach Karin Essig. “Sometimes they’re going to be tough, and this was one of those [games].”
Boyd scored all five of its runs in the fifth inning. The Lady Jackets struggled to even make contact with Candioto’s pitches in the first four innings, as she struck out nine batters in a row. Candioto fanned 12 batters total.
Candioto said the pitch she gave up the grand slam on was a curveball she hung in the zone. It was one of only three hits she surrendered on the night.
“It’s one of those games we didn’t really have any right to be in the way we were playing early, striking out,” said Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins. “We took one swing of the bat and all of a sudden had all the momentum in the world. We just let them back in it.
“We’ve hit [Candioto] a lot better in past, but she’s a good pitcher and she was dealing it.”
Candioto also found success at the plate, going 3-for-3 at the dish with a walk. In the third, Candioto drove in Paradise’s first run of the game when she belted an 0-1 pitch into the left field gap for an RBI-double.
Later in the sixth, Candioto got the Lady Panthers’ rally started with a single for her third hit of the game. Christina Tipton drove her in with a sharply hit single through the right side of the infield.
“I was just thirsty,” Candioto said. “I wanted to hit.”
Boyd’s Kristin Rasbury threw a complete game in the loss. She scattered six runs on 12 hits and struck out nine.
The win moved Paradise to 12-3 on the season and 5-0 in District 8-3A. The loss dropped the Lady Jackets to 4-14 overall and 2-3 in district. The Lady Panthers host City View Friday while Boyd hosts Nocona.
“We always [fight back],” Candioto said. “We never give up.”