WELLSTON - Wellston's Erica Scott and Ashley Compston changed the complexion of Friday's sectional final against Southeastern in the third inning.
The Lady Rockets' starting center fielder and pitcher began the inning with back-to-back doubles.
Compston's double drove in Scott to tie the game 1-1 and started a tide-turning three-run rally, as the Lady Rockets went on to earn a 4-2 win over Southeastern in the Division II sectional championship game at Nancy Kibler Field.
The three-run inning allowed Wellston (14-12) to claim the program's 11th sectional title in the 2000s and the fifth in the last six years to advance to Tuesday's district semifinal against Huntington. The Lady Huntsmen defeated Lynchburg Clay 15-5 in five innings in a sectional title game on Friday.
"I am proud of the girls," said Wellston head coach Dusty Cremeans. "Looking back at this season, we've had some losses that were one or two runs either way. It is just good to see the girls accomplish something and receive something for their hard work."
Trailing 1-0, Wellston showed a renewed confidence in the third after stranding runners in scoring position in the first two innings.
Erica Smith led off the inning with a double and scored on Compston's double into the gap in right-center field that tied the game.
Molly Smith and Kaylee Taynor both reached on errors to load the bases and Kendra Coleman plated Compston on a ground out to the right side. Brittany Downard provided the final blow of the inning after hitting into a fielder's choice to score Smith and give Wellston a 3-1 lead.
"You always like to be the one to score first, but when they scored that first run in the first inning, I wasn't too worried. This team seems to always fight back," Cremeans said. "I thought Southeastern's pitcher did a great job of controlling the game early on and she got us chasing some pitches.
"That third inning was clutch for us. The girls did what they were supposed to do and we were able to generate some runs, thankfully."
Southeastern pulled within a run in the fourth inning when Mandy Morris led off with a single and scored after back-to-back errors by Wellston.
The Lady Rockets, however, tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth when Smith doubled up the middle and scored two-batters later when Kendra Coleman reached on a Southeastern error to make it a two-score game.
From there, Compston made sure the lead was safe. The right-handed sophomore held the Lady Panthers in check and despite a pair of fielding errors in the fourth, her defense provided her with plenty of support.
"I thought our defense played sound by Ashley today," said Compston. "We had a couple of errors, but we didn't allow it to hurt us like it has in previous games.
"Hopefully, we take care of that next week, because we need a win. That's what it's all about from here on out. If you win, you keep going and if you don't, you go home."
For the game, Compston allowed just one earned run on six hits with five strikeouts and three walks to earn the win for Wellston.
Meanwhile, Ella Skeens, who gave up four runs on six hits with three strikeouts and three walks, took the loss in the pitching circle for the Lady Panthers.