Maleia Gray crushed a three-run walk-off shot over the center field fence in the bottom of the seventh inning to give her Oakland team a 4-2 win over Blackman to keep the District 7 race tight Thursday night.
The two-out homerun ended a frustrating hitting night in which the Lady Patriots left two or three runners stranded in several innings.
The win gives both Oakland and Blackman a 5-3 district mark, with Stewarts Creek, Siegel and Riverdale all bunched up within a game or two.
"They weren't really giving me anything to hit at the beginning of the game," Gray said. "I got walked twice, but my team did a really good job of getting on base so we could produce some runs. And I saw a fat pitch and I hit it to the best of my ability and I got lucky."
"I'm so proud of my girls. They fought back really hard and we had a hard time producing runs, but I'm glad we could finish it out the way we did."
The Lady Blaze scored their two runs in the second inning on successive doubles by Elaina McGill and Amyia Davis. Oakland answered in their half of the second when Alexys Haskins hit a solo homerun over the right field fence.
And the score was frozen at 2-1 for five more innings despite a flurry of hits on both sides.
The Lady Patriots had the bases loaded in the second with no outs after Haskins' homerun but couldn't produce another run. They left the bases loaded in the third, and left two runners stranded in the fifth, and two in the sixth before Gray's heroics.
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Patriots were at the top of their batting lineup. Reagan Bogle bunted for a single and Haskins was walked, bringing up Gray with two outs.
"I told them be present every pitch, battle, don't ever give up on each other and I think they exemplified that all night. They got down but they didn't quit," Oakland coach Samuel Sheppard said. "It was a senior stepping up and doing what seniors need to do. I'm so proud of Maleia. I told Maleia on deck, 'It is Maleia Gray night and I've got my ticket to the show.'
"I'm glad I had a ticket to that. That was awesome."