Keyser rallies late, holds off Frankfort 7-5

Apr. 19—SHORT GAP, W.Va. — Some late inning heroics led No. 3 Keyser to a comeback win over No. 5 Frankfort on Thursday.

The Golden Tornado (14-7) trailed 4-2 heading to the fifth inning, but scored five runs over the final three innings.

"Hard fought win, it's a real grind out there the first couple innings," Keyser head coach Colton Jones said. "They got up ahead of us, we made some mistakes in the field. But we kept battling."

With two outs in the top of the fifth, Rylee Mangold drew a walk.

Ivy Bromhal hit the next pitch on the ground and into left for an RBI single.

Two pitches later, Briana O'Reilly doubled on a fly ball to left. One run scored, tying the game.

"Defensively, we had a couple balls fall in here and there that probably could've been prevented," Frankfort head coach Kim Root said. "It just didn't pan out tonight."

However, the second runner was tagged out at home to end the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Falcons (9-11) loaded the bases on a walk by Morgan Weimer, a fielding error at second base and an Aubrie Root single.

Gracie Snurr hit a popup to shallow right that fell for a hit. One run scored, putting Frankfort up 5-4 while the second runner was tagged at home.

Keyser's Brielle Root led off the top of the seventh with a walk.

Kailynn Burns found the gap in right for a hit, then Tayler Likens sent a line drive to right.

"We had our top up, our first five to six hitters have been clutch for us all year long," Jones said. "They've been hitting the ball well. We challenged them a little bit coming in there and they responded."

Root scored to tie the game at 5 as Burns took third base.

A groundout gave Burns the chance to steal home. Initially, she was ruled out.

After the umpires discussed the play, the ruling was overturned, scoring the go-ahead run for the Tornado.

Coach Root said the play was ruled obstruction against Frankfort because the catcher "did not have control of the ball, and did not provide a lane of access for the runner."

"The original call was an out with no obstruction, and then it was overturned with an obstruction call," coach Root said. "We've had the conversation with our catcher, moving forward we'll be able to avoid having that call made again."

Keyser added another run on a passed ball.

Trailing 1-0 in the first, Aubrie Root drew a lead off walk.

Two batters later, Adison Pritts hit a ground ball past the shortstop for a hit.

One run scored, then a throwing error at third allowed two more runs to score, putting the Falcons up 3-1.

"Once one girl hits, every girl hits," coach Root said. "Once we had a couple girls on and we could see what we could do, they just kept hitting and wanted to be aggressive."

Frankfort added a run in the second on an RBI single by Pritts.

Brielle Root answered, scoring on a wild pitch in the third for Keyser. She led the team with three hits, a walk and a stolen base.

"She's been good all year, she's just a good softball player," Jones said. "Plays everywhere, good lead off, hits the ball hard. She's just a good overall player."

Through two innings, the Falcons had a lot of success finding gaps for hits, as five of their eight hits came in the first two innings.

Madison McIntyre, who entered in the fourth, was a key reason why the Tornado was able to slow Frankfort's output.

She went 3 2/3 innings out of the bullpen, allowing three hits, one run and one walk.

"As a freshman, she didn't even get a chance to warm up," Jones said. "She came in there and did what we wanted which was to throw strikes. Challenge them to make them hit and she did a fantastic job."

Leighton Johnson allowed five hits, four runs and three walks with five strikeouts across 3 1/3 innings.

After falling behind early in the first two innings, she threw a 1-2-3 third inning.

Dayahna Imes started for the Falcons and went four innings.

She allowed five hits, two runs and a walk. While she didn't record a strikeout, Imes got eight groundouts and a pair of fielder's choices off of frequent soft contact.

"It's just the spin on her pitches," coach Root said of Imes' ability to force soft contact. "She throws out more than she throws down the middle or in. They were getting a lot off the end of the bat, that was causing her some weak ground balls."

Chloe Judy and Aubrie Root finished the game.

Root and Pritts each had two hits, Pritts drove in two RBIs while Root also drew a pair of walks.

The Golden Tornado have won eight of its last nine games after starting the season 6-6.

"Getting late in the season, starting to see the end of it, trying to get them ready," Jones said of the win streak. "This is where we wanna hit our stride. We're trying to hit our stride, hit it at the right time going into the playoffs."

Keyser hosts a doubleheader on Friday against East Hardy at 2 p.m. and East Fairmont at 4 p.m. as part of the Ron Mathias Tournament.

Frankfort hosts Grafton on Friday at 6 p.m.

Jordan Kendall is a Sports Writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Email him with scores and story suggestions at