It was a good thing the Fort Frances Angels had a healthy lead by the late innings because the Emo Renegades made one sick comeback.
The Angels built an eight-run advantage through five innings, then withstood a furious rally by the host Renegades to escape with a 14-13 win in Rainy River District Women's Fastball League action last night in Emo.
Rylee Redford's hitting (on base every time in the game, five RBI total) and pitching were the key ingredients in Fort Frances (2-1) being up 14-6 through five against Emo starter Mykenzie Borger (2-1).
But the Renegades (2-1) refused to go peacefully, taking advantage of Redford's control issues (three hit batters in the game) as she started to wear down in the sixth to bring in four runs and cut the lead to four heading to the seventh.
In the final frame, Jenni Morrison went from being a defensive gem in centre with two great running catches in the game to offensive centrepiece with a booming triple that scored Laurie Brown to make it 14-12.
Jeannie Sheppard then raced home on Redford's two-out wild pitch and slid in just under the pitcher's tag at the plate to pull the Renegades to within one.
But Redford (1-0) recorded her seventh and most important strikeout of the night, blowing a 2-2 heater past Cheryl Smith to end the game in better fashion for the Fort than it even thought, as it had mistakenly credited the Renegades with an extra run and thought the game had finished as a tie.
Joining the Angels and Renegades in a three-way tie for fourth in the standings at 2-1 was the Fort Frances Mud Dogs, who nipped the Red Gut Babes (1-3) by a 13-12 count at St. Francis Sports Field.
Rachelle Yeo (2-1) went the distance on the mound and cranked a home run to help her cause, while teammate Shelby Tymkin took over the long ball league lead with her second tater of the campaign.
Alyssa Windego (1-3) took the loss for ninth-place Red Gut, while Beulah Chartrand belted her first four-bagger of the year in a losing cause.
In a showdown for top spot in the standings, Dana Ward's season debut as a pitcher was successful as the regular third baseman for the Fort Frances Her-icanes (4-0) got the decision in a 16-8 doubling of the Big Grassy Lynx (2-1-1) in Big Grassy.
Ward (1-0) was solid on the hill, while Stacy Patey took former 'Canes pitcher Micaela Jack (0-1) downtown for Patey's first homer of the season.
The Couchiching Lady Raiders (2-1-1) moved into a tie with the Lynx for second after a wild 20-20 tie with the host Northwest Bay Beavers (0-2-2).
Sydney Jones (1-1-1) of the Lady Raiders and Darcy Smith (0-2-2) of the Beavers didn't have their best nights, but each did just enough to earn their respective teams a single point apiece.
Manitou (2-2) kept up its lose one-win one pattern by defeating Sabaskong Tebinaak (0-2) by a 13-9 margin.
Savannah Prince walloped her first homer of the campaign for Sabaskong off winning pitcher Bev Cochrane (2-2), who still was good enough to outgun Tebinaak starter Candy Kelly (0-2).
The last-place Dawson Tigers (0-3) had the bye.
Victoria Day on Monday will see just one game scheduled, as the Angels and Sabaskong will meet at St. Francis Sports Field at 6:30 p.m. in a makeup game from this past Monday.
Meanwhile, the Rainy River District Fastball League's regular-season opening night this past Tuesday was rendered nearly silent as poor weather led to the postponement of five of the six games scheduled.
The only contest to get out of the starting gate saw the Fort Frances Braves blank Windey's Warriors 14-0 at VanJura Park.
In the first game for the Braves (1-0) since the passing of Fort first baseman Linden Indian from an illness in January, Fort Frances paid plenty of tribute to their big-hitting fallen teammate with five home runs off pitcher Rob McGinnis (0-1) from the Warriors (0-1).
Travis Tom smashed two fence rockets, while ex-Stratton Eagles all-star Chris Bourgeois, Brian Hook and Cole Tymkin homered, with two of the four-baggers being of the inside-the-park variety.
Tonight, the reigning league champion Sight & Sound Wolves will start defence of their title at home against the Couchiching Raiders at VanJura Park in a rematch of their terrific best-of-three East Division final last year.
Windey's will entertain the Northest Bay Chieftains at Roderick and Telford Bruyere Ball Field on Couchiching First Nation.
Other action will see the current West Division champion Barwick Blue Knights try to extend their regular-season winning streak after going undefeated throughout the pre-playoff campaign last year as they visit the Sabaskong Cubs.
The Rainy River Royals will be in Pinewood against the Dawson Tigers, while the visiting Stratton Eagles will be the first opponent in the history of the expansion Sabaskong Goldeneyes, who will begin their playing existence tonight.
Rounding out the schedule will be the Manitou Thunderbirds on the road against the Northwest Bay Juniors.
All games are set to begin at 6:30 p.m.