The Whitwell softball team rallied to beat Sale Creek 5-1 Thursday afternoon in a game continued from Wednesday final when Sale Creek head coach Cliffard Kirk had a "cardiac event" in the bottom of the seventh inning.
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Sale Creek coach Clifford Kirk has been awake and talking to a few select friends on his cell phone Thursday morning, mere hours after suffering what his family called "a cardiac event" that caused his collapse literally on third base.
With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Kirk was conveying an instruction to baserunner Regan Garrett when he collapsed. Kirk was given CPR and was defibrillated before his transport to Erlanger Hospital. Paramedics were able to find a pulse and by the time he arrived at the hospital, he was responsive. By mid-morning, he was reportedly sitting upright but still in ICU.
One report is that there was a malfunction of some sort involving Kirk's pacemaker and the coach had received a new one upon his arrival. Principal Tobin Davidson reported that Kirk's first words to him were, "Who won the game?" followed by "Why didn't you finish it?"
Those questions will be answered today at 5 p.m., when Whitwell returns to Sale Creek to pick up the game at the same point -- tied 1-1, bottom of the seventh with one out and a runner, Garrett, on second. Scheduled to hit is Mikah McCombs.
Whitwell had scored the game's first run on Storm Roberts' RBI single over a drawn-in third baseman in the third inning. Sale Creek, which wasted a two-on chance to score in the third, finally broke through against Whitwell pitcher Riley Long in the sixth. Miranda Barnette led off the inning with a double to the fence, moved to third on a perfect bunt and scored on Brittany Lanham's ground ball.
Both Sale Creek and Whitwell will advance to Friday's sectional game.
Sectional Pairings Announced
Game times are still tentative, but Friday's sectional pairings are set for other region finalists.
Soddy-Daisy, shut out by Coffee County Wednesday, remains on the road, playing at Smyrna in its Triple-A contest. East Hamilton, edging Meigs County, remains at home and faces a familiar foe in Bledsoe County. Meigs County will be on the road at Upperman.
In Division II, Baylor's girls host Father Ryan in a doubleheader as part of a best-of-3 series. That twin-bill has been set as a 4 p.m. start.