Erie's Maddie Leach blasted a game-saving grand slam in the seventh inning and Tigers teammate Kambry Fraser knocked a two-out walk-off home run in the eighth on Tuesday afternoon.
"We've been waiting for that big hit to be honest for like a week and a half," Erie coach Harold Simmons said.
It arrived victoriously and in good fashion.
The host Tigers rallied from a seven-run deficit to score nine consecutive runs in the final three innings to cap off a stunning, 11-9 win in eight innings over Holy Family.
Holy Family (13-2, 5-1 4A Tri-Valley) came into the afternoon ranked No. 1 in the CHSAANow 4A polls and Erie (11-5, 6-2) was fourth.
"That's a good team to beat right there," Simmons said. "They're the team to beat right now."
Holy Family ace Erin Caviness had been good all afternoon working out of jams while tying a season high with 12 strikeouts. Holy Family led 5-0 in the fifth and 9-2 in the sixth before Erie mounted its comeback.
Caviness gave up two more runs in the sixth and departed after loading the bases in the seventh. Relief pitcher Cassidy Chvatal then walked home a run and got an out before giving up a towering big fly from Leach that had the fans collectively holding their breaths.
"I was like 'Man, that felt really good,' and then I was like 'Man, that's really high, I hope it goes out," said Leach, who drove in five runs and pitched 6 1/3 innings in relief for the win. "I just went up there with the bases loaded in a situation everyone wants to be in. I just wanted to help out and then it just came."
Then in the eighth, Madysun Vaughan singled with two outs before Fraser's winner over the right-field wall.
"I think this will give us a lot of momentum and will refocus us in practice," Fraser said. "We know to work harder and we can beat these teams."
Erin Winters had three hits and Tyler Whitlock added two hits for Holy Family, including a bases-clearing double as part of a four-run sixth inning. Nine-hole hitter Kaitlyn McKenzie fueled a three-run second with an RBI triple and added a double in the seventh.
The firepower seemed like more than enough to keep Holy Family cruising on the year. The visiting Tigers, however, aren't worried that this stunning defeat will define its season.
"Ultimately we want to make it to the playoffs and make it to state," Holy Family coach Mitchell Martinez said. "This is a good team we lost to and we're a good team. We just don't want to lose focus on what our purpose is."
Kaylee Armstrong finally cashed in for Erie, roping a two-out, two-run double off the top of the left field fence in the fifth to trim the lead 5-2 . Caviness, though, ended any added additional threat with a strikeout. Erie then left two more runners on in the sixth after Caviness forced a flyout and ended the inning with her 12th K.
"It was frustrating leading up to it," Simmons said. "We didn't have good at-bats in key spots.
"Until the end."
Brent W. New: email@example.com and @brentwnew
Erie 11, Holy Family 9 (8 inn.)
At Erie HS
Holy Family130 014 00 — 9 14 1
Erie000 022 52 — 11 14 4
W — Erie Maddie Leach (9-2). L — Cassidy Chvatal (4-1).
Holy Family hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Anna Martinez 3-2-2-1, Sara Rode 4-0-1-0, Erin Winters 5-2-3-1, Erin Caviness 4-0-1-0, Chvatal 1-0-1-0, Tyler Whitlock 5-1-1-0, Noelle Gardon 5-1-1-0, Abby Edwards 4-0-1-0, Toni Schafer 4-0-0-1, Kaitlyn McKenzie 3-2-2-1, Katie Bine 0-1-0-0.
Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Madysun Vaughan 5-2-2-0, Sloane Quijas 4-1-1-0, Kat Sackett 3-0-0-0, Jen Williams 5-1-2-2, Teagan Brand 5-1-1-0, Kambry Fraser 4-3-3-2, Kaylee Armstrong 3-2-3-1, Lauren Russell 2-0-0-0, Alyssa Barnett 2-0-0-0, Leach 4-1-2-5.
Holy Family pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Caviness 6-11-7-7-3-12, Chvatal 1.2-3-4-4-1-2.
Erie pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Megan Loveland 1.2-6-4-2-0-0, Leach 6.1-8-5-3-2-1.