Coming up short

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 2, 2005

The Andalusia Lady Bulldogs continue to win posting a 3-1 victory against the Class 5A Greenville Lady Tigers on Tuesday.

Andalusia (15-2) is on a roll after being ranked No. 10 in the state in Class 4A and going 2-1 at a very competitive tournament in Wetumpka last week.

Morgen Battey was in the pitcher's circle to start the game for Andalusia and went the distance allowing just one run on Kristy Payne's solo home run to dead center field. Payne pulled up at second thinking she had hit a ground-rule double she was so busy hustling to first after making contact.

"That game was an interesting game because I got a home run," said Payne, junior outfielder for the Lady Tigers. "I hit one straight to third and got a walk. We are going to come back and get them next week at home. We had some mistakes in the last game but we are getting it right next week."

The home run gave the Lady Tigers a 1-0 lead. It was a lead that would not last.

Andalusia answered with pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth after getting out of a jam. Greenville had runners on second and third with no outs in the top of the fourth and failed to capitalize.

A strikeout, ground out back to the pitcher and a fly out to center ended the Greenville threat.

The Lady Bulldogs' offense was fueled by its defense as Rachel Jones led off the bottom of the fourth with a bunt. She raced all the way to third when the throw by the Greenville third baseman sailed high and into foul territory in right field. Hannah Bush grounded out to the pitcher for the first out, but Andalusia wasn't finished.

Hannah Reynolds got down a bunt and reached on another Greenville throwing error. Jones scored on the play to make it a 1-1 game. Battey dropped a sacrifice bunt to move Reynolds to second. Reynolds went to third on a wild pitch.

Ashley Johnson took advantage of the Greenville miscues with an RBI-single to give the Lady Bulldogs a 2-1 edge.

Andalusia tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Holley Bass reached on an error and scored. She scored later in the inning on a passed ball after moving to third on Katie Howell's bunt single.

Battey went the distance allowing one run in seven innings of work on five hits and no walks. Battey struck out seven in the win.

Greenville pitcher Brittany White allowing three runs on four hits with no walks. She struck out six. Errors behind White on the diamond allowed all three Andalusia runs to score.

"The first time we played them they beat us 6-0, then they beat us 5-1 and they beat us 3-1 last time," said Amanda Wright, senior catcher for the Lady Tigers. "We had a couple of errors that hurt us. But besides that we did good and I do believe that the next time we meet them we will give them a good game."

The Lady Bulldogs return to action on Thursday when they play Pleasant Home in Pleasant Home. It will be a battle of ranked teams. Pleasant Home was ranked No. 8 in the state in Class 1A. The first pitch is set for 4 p.m.

The Greenville Lady Tigers were set to face off on Thursday afternoon with the Luverne Lady Tigers, but due to rain in the area that game was cancelled. However, the Lady Tigers were set to play in the Trinity Tournament this weekend in Montgomery. That tournament is still on, instead of being a two-day affair, the Lady Tigers along with 14 other teams in the tournament will play two pool games and then a bracket game all on Saturday.

"I feel like we are ready for the tournament this weekend," said Wright. I think we are going to go out there and play with those girls, if we don't beat them we are going to stay right there with them and give them some games that they may not be expecting."

Teams are guaranteed three games no matter how they finish in their pool.

"We are going to take it game by game and pitch by pitch," said Kendra Mitchell, junior infielder, for the Lady Tigers. "One inning messes up our whole game. We are going to play aggressive and play each game to our full potential."

Greenville is in the pool with Robert E. Lee and Montgomery Catholic, and will face them in back-to-back games. The first game is set for 10 a.m., with the game against Catholic set for 11:30.

I'm looking forward to going and playing those teams this weekend," said Ivorie Crenshaw, the Lady Tigers senior centerfielder. "We are getting better as we've been going along and I think we'll be ready."

Once the bracket-play begins, the Lady Tigers will face either Trinity, Alexandria or Elmore County depending what position the Lady Tigers finish in their pool.

"I think we'll do pretty well, we do have three games back-to-back and that third one could get a little tiring," said Halie Burnett, freshman short stop for the Lady Tigers. "But we are a team that can probably stick around and hopefully we'll go through each inning doing the best we can and playing to our potential. We've got two wins under our belt and were really close to beating Andalusia, so I think that's going to help our confidence some."

Greenville was set to have the week off next week since Montgomery Academy cancelled their games, but Greenville High's Donna Sunnycalb has been busy filling the empty calendar slots though.

Next week, the Lady Tigers will be in action four times. They will open the week by playing host to Andalusia on April 7 and then Carroll(Ozark) on April 11. They will hit the road for two games against Luverne and Trinity on April 13, and 14 back-to-back.

But, just like every other team in Butler County, the Lady Tigers have been struggling to find time to practice between the monsoons recently.

According to Sunnycalb, they practiced for three hours on Wednesday and then had the afternoon off on Thursday due to the game with Luverne being postponed. The Lady Tigers took Friday afternoon to practice and held batting practice inside the gym of Greenville High School in order to get ready for tomorrow's action.

John Wallace of the Andalusia Star News contributed to this story.