Trailing 4-0 with two outs in the fifth inning, a misplay of Jordan Salmon’s pop-fly opened the door for Boyd against rival Paradise.
After loading the bases and getting a run, Sydney Langley delivered what looked like the knock-out punch, depositing a pitch over the left field wall for a grand slam to give the Lady Jackets the lead.
But the Lady Panthers were not done. After battling back to tie the game in the sixth, Kendall 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 paved the way for Paradise’s 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 against Candioto in the first four innings. She struck out nine batters in a row and finished with 12 strikeouts.
Candioto said she gave up the grand slam on a curveball that 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 the past, but she’s a good pitcher and she was dealing it.”
Candioto also found success at the plate, going 3-for-3 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.
In the sixth, Candioto got the Lady Panthers’ rally started with a single. 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.
Paradise moved to 12-3 on the season and a perfect 5-0 in District 8-3A. Boyd dropped to 4-14 overall and 2-3 in district.
The Lady Panthers hosted City View Friday while Boyd hosted Nocona.
“We always [fight back],” Candioto said. “We never give up.”