PHS, SHS on even ground

Published 11:59 pm Friday, April 3, 2009

Right now, there is no doubt in my mind that the No. 1 Pleasant Home Lady Eagles and No. 3 Straughn Lady Tigers have been the most exciting softball match up since the beginning of the season.

Think about it, both teams went to the state playoffs in Montgomery last year and both teams are highly ranked in their classifications.

Last year, Straughn finished runner-up in Class 3A, losing to Elkmont, 7-0.

On March 26, Pleasant Home (9-3, 5-0 in Class 1A, Area 3) and Straughn (12-4, 1-0 in Class 3A, Area 3) met for the first time of the season at the annual KLD softball tournament and from all accounts, it was an amazing game.

In that first game, the score remained tied 1-1 until the eighth inning. The top half of the eighth inning saw the Lady Eagles with an opportunity to score, but Straughn doubled up a Pleasant Home player at third base.

“We had a bad break on that pop fly that they doubled us up in,” PHS coach Jimmy Reeves said after that game. “But you have to give Straughn credit. They have really done a nice job with their program and it’s always a big game for us when we play these guys.”

After holding the Lady Eagles in the top of the ninth, Straughn’s Katy Messick hit an RBI double to win the game in the bottom half of the inning.

In the second match up on Monday night, it once again went to extra innings, as Straughn again squeaked by Pleasant Home in an eight-inning 3-2 win.

The Lady Eagles shot to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning, but Straughn tied it up in the third inning with two runs. Straughn’s Kimberly Teel scored the winning run for her team.

“It was very similar (to the game on March 26),” Straughn coach Ray Wilson said on Tuesday. “There were two different pitchers pitching with similar results.”

Both were defensive battles, which is exciting to see because each team has the capability to go very far at state this year.

Reeves said it best Tuesday about the game on Monday.

“(Straughn) plays really good fundamental softball and anytime you play somebody like that it makes you better,” he said. “Hopefully it make them better and us better when it gets down to gut checking time when all of us will be good.”

There is only one “gut checking time” that Reeves can be referring to, and that’s the state playoffs.

I expect their next match up (which could be next weekend at Pleasant Home’s invitational tournament) to be equally the same — a close, nail-biting exhibition between two teams who have found their match in high school softball.