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Kinston overcomes adversity

Kinston's Tiffany Wingard (16) slides safely into third base as Pleasant Home's Kayla Woods tries for the tag Saturday at the Class 1A, Area 3 championship game.

KINSTON — The dark clouds hung low for Pleasant Home in Kinston Saturday at the Class 1A, Area 3 softball tournament, where the top-ranked Lady Bulldogs beat the Lady Eagles in the championship game 5-0.

Before claiming the area crown, Kinston fell to Pleasant Home 2-1 in eight innings in the game preceding the finals.

“We were proud to win that first game,” Pleasant Home coach Jimmy Reeves said. “It takes an extra effort from us to beat them — we got that the first game.

“I thought my pitcher (Emily Byrd) pitched real well,” he said. “I thought my catcher (Ashley Copeland) played outstanding ball all day.”

Both Kinston and Pleasant Home have earned a trip to the south regional tournament this weekend, having finished winner and runner up, respectively.

Pleasant Home’s first game at the regional tournament is Friday at 12:30 p.m. on Field No. 4 at the softball complex in Gulf Shores.

Kinston 5, Pleasant Home 0

The Lady Bulldogs overcame adversity after falling in a tight game to Pleasant Home, scoring one run in the first, three in the second and one in the fourth.

Kinston coach Janie Wiggins said her team had to “hit the ball” in order to get the win.

“Basically, we just had to start hitting the ball again,” she said. “We were really starting to make good contact even though we didn’t score any runs (in 2-1 loss). We were hitting the ball towards the end of the game, and we were at a good point in the line up.

“We were at our 9, 1 and 2,” she said. “We could’ve kept going and made a difference. It just took us a little bit to get back in it.”

Kinston’s Madison Weeks crossed home plate on a passed ball in the first inning, and scored again in the fourth on a throwing error to earn two runs for her team.

In the second inning, Kinston’s Sarah Mock got the scoring started when she doubled in Tiffany Wingard.

Macie Sanders then scored on a double by Amber Jacobs, and the courtesy runner for Mock scored on a ground out by Amanda Crohn.

Weeks was 2-for-4 with two runs; Crohn was 0-for-3 with one RBI; Wingard was 1-for-3 with one run; Tasha Jones was 1-for-3 with one single; Sanders was 1-for-3 with one run; Mock was 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run; and Jacobs was 1-for-3 with one RBI.

Copeland was 2-for-3 with two singles.

On the mound, Mock allowed no runs on three hits in six innings and struck out 12 for the win.

When asked why she kept Mock in, Wiggins said she could tell that her pitcher was ready to win the second game Saturday.

“She’s pretty fired up there in the end of the first game, and I could read her pretty well,” she said. “It wasn’t the fact that she was tired — she was frustrated. So, she channeled that pretty well the next game. I talked with my other coaches, too and they all agreed to give her another round. She did a great job for us — great job.”

Pleasant Home 2, Kinston 1

Pleasant Home’s Krissie Herman scored the game-winning run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning on a passed ball.

The championship game picked back up in the top of the sixth inning, where both teams remained tied 1-1 with Kinston (31-8-1) at bat after the game was delayed due to rain Friday night.

Byrd held Kinston at bay for the rest of the game, only allowing one hit in three innings to get the win.

Reeves said he believes that the team has turned a corner.

“I think we learned and grew, and I think we maybe got over a hump or turned the corner,” he said. “We’ve been trying to get our lineup right all year,” he said. “We’ve moved Jordan McGee to first base. Maybe we’ve got our defense straight. We’re going to work on our offense real hard (this) week. We’re proud to be going to the regionals.”

Pleasant Home’s Kayla Woods was 0-for-4 with one run; Byrd was 1-for-3 with one double; and Copeland was 1-for-3 with one double.

Mock struck out 18 batters in the loss.