Spirit edges Comets in nine-inning affair

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A walk-off double by Stacey McManus in the bottom of the ninth inning led the Aussie Spirit to a 2-1 win over the visiting Cleveland Comets at the Urban Youth Academy on Tuesday.

Jade Wall had drawn a leadoff walk and moved to second on Clare Warwick’s sacrifice bunt to set up McManus’ game-winner.

The Spirit, who have now won the first two of the six-game series, took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Stacey Porter hit a 2-1 pitch over the fence in right center.

It stayed that way as Cleveland pitcher Gretchen Aucoin settled in and allowed just three baserunners in the next seven innings.

Cleveland scored its lone run in the top of the seventh when Liu FeiFei reached on a fielder’s choice and Alexa Robertson walked to put runners on first and second with one down. Jade Rhodes then singled to tie the game.

That was Cleveland’s only hit of the contest.

Verity Long hit a pinch-hit single to give the Spirit a chance to win it in regulation but Aucoin retired the next three batters to force the extra innings.

Aucoin took the loss after surrendering two earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts in eight innings. Devin Brown relieved Aucoin in the ninth. She allowed just the one hit to McManus.

Jordan Taylor started for the Spirit. She didn’t allow a hit and struck out three. Amelia Cudicio pitched 2 1/3 innings. She allowed one run on two walks and struck out three. Ellen Roberts picked up the win after pitching the final 2 2/3 innings. Roberts allowed one hit, two walks and struck out three.

The Spirit improved to 8-19 while the Comets dropped to 4-16.

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