WHEELING - With her team struggling to put runs on the scoreboard, Wheeling Park coach Dee Davis was ecstatic to watch her Patriots put six runs up in the bottom of the fifth Thursday afternoon to take a late 9-2 lead on visiting Edison.
However, her happiness did not last long as Park had a nightmarish inning in the field in the sixth, committing five errors and watching the Wildcats send 15 batters to the plate in a deciding 10-run outburst.
Kayla Prokapakis provided a big lift with her bat and glove and Edison did most of its damage in the final two innings en route to a wild, come-from-behind 13-10 victory against the Patriots on Ben's Field at the J.B. Chambers I-470 Sports Complex.
Coach Spencer Bendle's club (4-3) got very little going against Park's Carly Greer through five innings, with Kayla Prokapakis' fourth-inning home run deep over the left field fence accounting for the Wildcats' only run.
Leading 3-2, the Patriots took advantage of three walks, an RBI single from Kelsey Johnson and Ashleigh Sidon's three-run triple to deep left-center field in the fifth to take a seemingly comfortable 9-2 advantage.
But the wheels fell off for Wheeling Park in the top of sixth as Edison put its initial six batters on base, thanks to three singles and just as many Patriots' errors.
Molly McCoy and Natalie Snyder each had RBI singles in the frame ahead of Trishia Trifonoff's two-run double. Snyder later capped the inning, chasing home two more with her second base hit of the sixth as the 'Cats took a 12-9 lead.
Park had a chance in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases for the third time, but Kayla Prokapakis' snare of Keleigh Sidon's two-out rocket down the third-base line ended the threat.
Each team added a run in the seventh to close the scoring.
"We have been playing so poorly defensively that having only one hit through five innings didn't even concern me," Bendle said. "But while it hasn't been in that fashion, we have been scoring some runs. I guess we just survived another one.
"Pitching has to get more consistent and we have got to find a way to tighten up our defense.
"Kayla (Prokapakis) has been struggling a little at the plate and in the field, but she is such a competitor and she always gives it her all and (Thursday) she did some big things for us."
Park (7-4) scored a pair of runs in the first on Allie Dailer's run-scoring single and an error and made it a 3-0 count on Greer's sacrifice fly in the third. The Patriots did get a Johnson single and Skylar Carrington double later in the frame, however, Johnson was gunned down at the plate to end the inning.
Davis' crew out-hit the visitors by a 10-9 margin, but they stranded nine runners in the game, including seven in scoring position.
"Recently we haven't been hitting the ball or scoring runs," Davis said. "(Thursday) I was pleased with our hitting, but we made too many mental mistakes, especially in their big inning.
"We have a bunch of girls that are the same age and in the same class, but we just don't have any leaders right now. We really need someone to step up and take control of things. As a team we are really just going through the motions right now."