MARSHALL, Texas — The outlook was not good for Pleasant Grove.
The Hawks, facing a 5-1 deficit headed into the bottom half of the final frame, had a hero in Adi Koller who walloped a walk-off, inside-the-park, grand slam to seal a 6-5 win over Henderson in a Class 4A, bi-district playoff softball game on Thursday at Lady Maverick Field.
"Adi was due, and I told her to channel her energy because I knew she wanted it," Pleasant Grove head coach Becca Collom said. "We couldn't have had a better person up there. She was hungry and attacking the ball. I was fired up. We had our fastest kid running around the bases.
"I was proud of the kids. I have no complaints about our fight or our grit. We kept telling them to give ourselves an opportunity. The bottom of the lineup came up and got on base. It allowed for the top of our lineup to get to the plate. They did a great job of fighting and I am super proud of them."
With an out in the seventh, MJ Williams used her speed to bunt on safely for the Lady Hawks and later took second on a wild pitch. Harleigh O'Neal took first on a Lady Lion throwing error and Williams scored as Pleasant Grove bridged the gap, 5-2.
Ann Elise Lindsay got on with two outs after a fielder's choice for the Hawks. Timia Cooks hit a blooping single over the shortstop's head, and Lexie Snyder singled to left center to juice the bases.
Koller sent a blazing roller down the first-base line that rolled to the back, hit the perimeter fence and ricocheted back toward center field. The Lions had a difficult time fielding Koller's laser shot. After three runs scored to knot the game, Koller came around third base, headed for home. Koller avoided the tag and was called safe as Pleasant Grove clinched the victory.
"It feels amazing," Koller said. "I did it for my team and got it when we needed it the most. I thought, 'There is no one better to be at bat right now'. I just had the confidence and I did it."
Snyder earned the win in the circle for the Hawks (14-9-2) , gave up five runs (just two earned) on six hits, tossed seven innings, struck out two and walked two. Kloee Carroll absorbed the loss, threw 1 2/3 innings in relief, gave up five runs on five hits and struck out one for Henderson.
Koller led off the Hawks' fourth with a single to right field. Koller moved up to second on Zoe Smith's sacrifice fly to left. Presley Humphrey smacked an RBI double down the third-base line to knot the game at 1-all. Williams singled on a hard hit ball back to the pitcher but was thrown out trying to steal second as the frame ended.
The Lions grabbed a 3-1 advantage in the sixth after consecutive singles. One runner scored on a passed ball and the other scored on a Pleasant Grove throwing error. An insurance run came across on an RBI triple to make it 4-1. Henderson got a run across in the seventh to make it a 4-run game going into the final stanza, 5-1.
Natalie Nickolson had the Hawks' fifth hit of the game on a single to center field with a pair of outs in the sixth. Nickolson was left stranded after a flyout.
Henderson took a 1-0 lead in the fourth after a triple and an RBI single.
Lindsay sent a hot roller up the middle for a Hawk single to lead off the third. Lindsay's single was the second Pleasant Grove hit of the game.
Snyder singled through the hole at short to lead off PG's first inning but was left stranded after three consecutive flyouts.
The Hawks face either Huntsville or Brownsboro in the Class 4A area round playoffs next week.