Doing a double take: Poplin's grand slam leads Rams to win in two-night contest

May 8—RACELAND — After a 22-hour delay due to rain, Raceland restarted its game against Boyd County in grand fashion.

Lily Poplin drilled a grand slam in the top of the fifth inning, the first frame after play resumed on Tuesday, to give her team a lead it would never lose.

"We knew we had to jump on them early today," Raceland assistant coach Keith Wellman said. "Obviously, with just three innings, we had to get going. (Elyn Simpkins) has some speed so we put more speed on the machine to prepare us to get on top quick."

The homer was part of a five-run inning that lifted Raceland past the Lions 6-3.

"We have to make pitches when it matters," Boyd County coach Lance Seasor said. "I kind of treat this like two games. Yesterday we pitched great but didn't hit. Today, we missed a couple of pitches when we really needed them and left some pitches over the middle. But our approach at the plate was better."

Prior to the rain delay at Boyd County on Monday, both teams' defenses were focused through all four frames completed.

The Lions were held hitless through four innings with a pair of errors.

The Rams managed three singles, but none of them could get to the plate. Raceland (25-7) loaded the bases in the third frame with no outs but couldn't push one across.

The Rams followed with two runners in scoring position in the fourth but Boyd County starter Elyn Simpkins held them scoreless.

Simpkins struck out her first batter after the restart to open the fifth inning.

Unfortunately for the Lions, they couldn't keep that defensive momentum going.

Peyton Mackie reached on an error in the two spot and was driven home after hits from Kali Vance and Davanna Grubb.

A couple of at-bats later, Poplin went yard to put the Rams up 5-0.

"Our team is starting to lock in," Wellman said. "We're nearing the end of the season and they understand there's some great hitting teams in this region."

Boyd County (15-14) found some response in the bottom of the fifth, putting three runs on the board.

"Our response was great," Seasor said. "It showed we weren't going to quit. Giving up that grand slam was a teaching moment because it followed an error earlier in the inning. If we take outs when they're given to us, they don't turn into big innings. But we'll learn and move on."

The Lions' first run came off an RBI single from Simpkins.

The other two came in the very next at-bat with a hard hit to the wall by Jaycie Goad for a two-run RBI standup double.

Both teams returned to defensive mode in the sixth inning, but Raceland wasn't done with homers.

"We knew Boyd was going to hit," Wellman said. "We had to focus on making the easy, simple plays which is what we did. They're just dialed in right now."

Grubb, hitting in the leadoff position, put one over the center field fence for a solo home run to put her team up 6-3.

The Rams turned around in the bottom of the seventh and put away Boyd County with a 1-2-3 inning to seal the win.

"We have to understand we're going to face plenty of teams like Boyd moving forward," Wellman said. "There's going to be plenty of teams that hit really well. We have to rebound every time a team comes back at us. If we win every inning, put some runs up, our pitching staff will keep us in the game."

With the game being played across two days, Seasor hopes his squad sees how vital all aspects of the game are and that his team needs to do all things well to be successful.

"I hope their takeaway is that when we put a complete game together, we can compete and beat anybody," Seasor said. "We haven't put a complete game together in all facets of the game this season. We haven't had a game where we've hit, pitched, and fielded well all in one game."

"If we can put a complete game together, we can win. If we don't, we can be beat," he added. "We'll see how it ends up."

RACELAND 000 050 1 — 6 9 0

BOYD CO. 000 030 0 — 3 4 3

Grubb and Vance; Simpkins and Henderson. W — Grubb. L — Simpkins. 2B — Jay. Goad (BC), Gracie Gilbert (BC). HR — Poplin (R), Grubb (R).

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