Straughn wins invitational

Published 11:59 pm Monday, April 13, 2009

The No. 3 Straughn Lady Tigers pulled out a 3-2 eight-inning win over the No. 2 Pleasant Home Lady Eagles Saturday to win the Pleasant Home Invitational softball tournament.

Straughn (22-6) defeated J.U. Blacksher 11-1 in the semifinals before playing PHS in the finals.

Pleasant Home came out of the losers’ bracket and defeated Opp, 16-5, in the first game of the day and beat Baker (Fla.), 3-2, to advance and play Straughn in the championship. Pleasant Home lost to Straughn, 4-2, on Thursday to drop into the losers’ bracket.

Straughn 3,

Pleasant Home 2

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Straughn’s Kayla Messer hit a two-run single to score Kelli Wilcox and Stephanie Bracewell to clinch the tournament title.

“It was another close one,” Straughn coach Ray Wilson said. “It’s that way every time (we play Pleasant Home).”

Wilson said the difference in Saturday’s game and the match ups before against PHS was the fact that his team was behind in the tiebreaker innings.

“You kind of change your philosophy when you know you’ve got to score one and also you’ve got to get in the back of your mind that you’ve got to get two in scoring position to have a chance to win it with a base hit,” he said. “We had a few errors in the field this game, but we seemed to find a way to get out of the inning even when we had some errors. That was big as well. (Pleasant Home’s) Gina Davis did a real good job pitching.”

In a softball game that goes into extra innings, a base runner will start on second base when the inning starts for the batting team. In the eighth, Wilcox was the base runner who started on second base.

The game remained tied at 1-1 until the top of the eighth inning, when Pleasant Home’s Brittany Ward hit an RBI single to score Kati Reeves.

Pleasant Home coach Jimmy Reeves said, right now, Straughn is the “better team.”

“You’d think we can pull one of those out,” Reeves said. “Straughn made some clutch plays and they just are a little bit better than we are right now.

“I was just proud of our girls,” he said. “I thought they played hard and I thought they played well coming back out of the losers’ bracket and winning a tough game against Baker to get there. I thought my pitcher pitched great and they just squeaked it out on us again. All you can do is give Straughn credit. They beat us.”

Before game regulation ended, Straughn scored one run in the first inning and Pleasant Home (16-7) got on board in the fourth inning.

Kaitlynn Wiggins earned the win for Straughn, pitching 8.0 innings, allowing two walks, seven hits and two runs while striking out 10.

Gina Davis took the loss for Pleasant Home.

Pleasant Home and Straughn will meet one more time this season on April 21 at PHS. The game starts at 4 p.m.

Straughn 11,

J.U. Blacksher 1

Scoring three runs in the first inning and two in the second inning, Straughn held the lead at 5-1 until the sixth inning when the Lady Tigers scored six to win the game by the mercy rule.

Kaitlynn Wiggins and Kayla Messer both had RBIs in the first inning to score Megan Johns and Wiggins.

Kelli Wilcox hit an RBI double in the second to score Tori Bracewell. Wilcox later scored on an RBI single from Johns.

In the fifth, Messer scored on an RBI single from Messick and in the sixth, Katie Beck scored on an RBI double from Johns. Wilcox later scored on an RBI single from Wiggins and both Johns and Wiggins scored on a two-run shot from Messer.

Messer later scored in the inning on an RBI double from Kayla Teel.

Katy Messick earned the win for the Lady Tigers and pitched 5.0 innings, allowing one hit, one walk and striking out nine.

Pleasant Home 3, Baker 2

The Lady Eagles tied the game up in the second inning off a two-run single from Megan Cook to score Kayla Woods before Cook scored on an error.

The game went into extra innings and Pleasant Home’s Kayla Woods scored on an RBI single from Shanda Martin to win the game.

Gina Davis earned the win for the Lady Eagles and pitched 5.0 innings, allowing five hits, two walks and striking out seven.

The Lady Tigers will travel to Troy today to play Charles Henderson at 4 p.m.