KANNAPOLIS – As Leanna Mills slid safely into third base in the top of the fifth inning of Concord American Legion Post 51’s softball game at Kannapolis Post 115 Tuesday night, she represented the potential tying run with just one out in the teams’ second five-inning game of a doubleheader.
Mills’ resulting triple scored teammate Tori Kirkpatrick, bringing Concord to within a run of Kannapolis in a come-from-behind rally. Mills was only 90 feet away from bringing Concord all the way back from a three-run deficit in the final frame.
Then she wasn’t.
As Mills rose to gain her stance on the bag, Kannapolis third baseman Anna Blume applied a tag on the Concord extra hitter, and the umpire ruled that Mills came off the base and thus was out. Winning pitcher Emma Brown induced a groundout from the final batter, securing a 5-4 Kannapolis victory and a doubleheader sweep at Kannapolis Middle School.
“It was definitely a tough way to get knocked out of the game because it took us a while to get warmed up,” said Concord coach Charity Ballard. “We were on a roll. I felt good about the bats that inning.”
Kannapolis (8-1 overall) scored all of its runs in the second inning and saw Concord (2-6) scratch for two in the third. Mills drove in Kasey Lee with a single to left and later scored from third when teammate Caitlyn Cable stole second, drawing a throw from the catcher for which no Post 115 fielder covered the base.
With one out in the fifth, Lee drove a double to deep left field and scored on Kirkpatrick’s double down the left-field line. The right-handed-hitting Mills followed with a drive to the deepest part of right-center.
Right fielder Megan Gerdeman’s cutoff throw reached second baseman Cam Shaffner after Mills rounded second. Shaffner’s throw to third was high and threatened to go over Blume’s head. The play looked over until the umpire recognized that Blume’s glove, with the ball, maintained contact with Mills as she inadvertently pulled her foot off the base.
“It was a good job by Anna keeping the tag on her,” said Kannapolis coach Dean Mullinax. “They’re taught to keep their tags on. If she came off the base, there’s no time to stop the play. It is what it is.”
Post 115 got to Post 51 starter Mykah Parker early. Shaffner had a run-scoring single in the second inning, and Kaylee Yow and Emma Brown plated runs on a hit batsman and a walk, respectively. But Concord’s fielding betrayed Parker, too, committing three errors.
Kannapolis and Concord play another doubleheader Wednesday at 7 p.m., at Concord High. On Thursday, Concord hosts two games with Montgomery County, while Kannapolis hosts a doubleheader with Union County.
Concord 002 02 – 4 8 3
Kannapolis 050 0x -- 5 5 0
Concord hits – Caitlyn Cable 2, Rachel Earl, Kasey Lee 2, Tori Kirkpatrick, Leanna Mills 2.
Kannapolis hits – Cam Shaffner, Lauren Ritchie, Kayla Smith, Tali Hagler, Sam Holman.
Concord RBIs – Mills 2, Kirkpatrick.
Kannapolis RBIs – Shaffner, Kaylee Yow, Emma Brown
WP: Brown (5 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 2 K)
LP: Mykah Parker (1 IP, 5 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 K)