Surprise, surprise, surprise

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pleasant Home’s Emily Byrd slides safely into home plate Saturday as Kinston’s Emily Mock tries for the tag. Byrd scored the only run for the Lady Eagles to help beat the Lady Bulldogs, and secure a spot in the state tournament this week. |Andrew Garner/Star-News

GULF SHORES — The Pleasant Home Lady Eagles jelled together Saturday to win the Class 1A South Regional Softball Tournament title at the Gulf Shores Sports Complex.

In a stunning defensive game, the Lady Eagles beat top-ranked Kinston 1-0 in the winner’s bracket elimination game; and defeated Ariton 8-2 to win the title.

Pleasant Home coach Jimmy Reeves said after the tournament that it was “sweet” to win the title.

“That’s nice — that is sweet,” Reeves said after the game. “No doubt about that.

“We want those 1-0, 2-1 ball games,” he said. “That’s our style and anytime we play them like that, we usually play them pretty good.”

Pleasant Home will make its 10th appearance at the Class 1A state tournament this week at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.

The tournament most valuable player award went to Emily Byrd for Class 1A.

Pleasant Home 1, Kinston 0

It took an unconventional way to earn a trip to the state tournament Lady Eagles, as Megan Cook scored Byrd on a bunt-squeeze, surprising the Kinston infield.

Byrd reached on a double and quickly made it to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Robyn Weaver.

In the first three innings, Byrd shut down the Lady Bulldogs offense causing pop ups and ground outs to third base, short stop and second base in the infield.

Later in the sixth inning, Kinston was in scoring position with Amber Jacobs on second base.

She reached on a single and then made it to second on a ground out by lead off hitter Madison Weeks.

The two-hole hitter — Amanda Crohn — got caught swinging to give Byrd her only strikeout of the game.

Reeves said that he had a lot of “doubts” heading into the tournament.

“We hadn’t played well all year, but we showed signs every once in a while that we’d put it together, and every time we got everything going together, we’d fall apart,” he said. “So, I’m just pleasantly surprised.”

Byrd allowed no runs on two hits, and walked three in the complete game.

In addition, Reeves said he thought his catcher — Ashley Copeland — played well despite having a hand injury.

“My catcher was hurt — she was our hottest hitter — and she didn’t swing that bat at all for us this weekend,” Reeves said. “She did a great job behind the plate, and anytime you get a good game pitched from Emily in a 1-0 game like that, then you’ve got to be a good catcher, too.”

Cook was 1-for-3 with one RBI, and Byrd was 1-for-3 with one run.

Caitlin Jernigan was 1-for-2 with a single for the Lady Eagles.

Pleasant Home 8, Ariton 2

The Lady Eagles took Ariton’s early 1-0 lead from the Purple Cats in the bottom of the second inning scoring two runs on two hits.

Gina Davis scored on a hit by Kat Dozier, and Dozier scored on a hit by Jordan McGee.

Pleasant Home added one run in the third inning when Kaitlin Brookshire made it home on a double by Cook.

“We went in there with — you could say — our second defense to start that game,” Reeves said. “We knew we had to outscore them, and the girls bowed up and scored a bunch of runs. They did what they needed to do all day long.”

Dozier, McGee and Jernigan all scored in the fourth inning for the Lady Eagles.

Davis and Cook sealed the title win scoring in the fifth inning.

Ariton added one run in the sixth inning on a double.