“I was rounding third, and I saw that the ball was definitely going to beat me there,” Elliott said.
But instead of retreating to third base, Elliott took a gamble.
“I felt like I really needed to really slide hard into her and possibly knock the ball out,” she said.
Sprinting full-speed down the line, Elliott dropped into a feet-first slide and slammed hard into Courtney Ziese — the Yellow Jackets’ catcher.
Ziese had ended the previous inning by holding onto a throw from right field to apply the tag to Jenna Kelly.
But as Ziese fell over and Elliott stretched her foot under the catcher to make contact with home plate, the umpire pumped his fist and called an out.
Coach Donna Papa pleaded with him to discuss the call with the other umpires, and even though the umpire said he was confident, further prodding by Papa convinced him to confer with his cohorts.
Further deliberation ensued, and the umpires came to a conclusion: The call was overturned.
Elliott’s high-velocity skid into home had accomplished its mission by being enough of a jolt to knock the ball from Ziese’s glove.
“I didn’t know the ball had gotten loose, so I originally thought I was out. But I’m glad it came out,” Elliott said with a laugh.
The newly verified run pulled the Tar Heels within one run, and after a five-run outburst in the fifth inning, North Carolina held on for an 11-6 win.
“We have a sign that goes into our dugout that says ‘How tough are you?’,” Papa said. “I feel like we’re being tough.”
If you ask Courtney Ziese, she’d probably agree.
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