Lady Tigers win area title

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Straughn's Paige Caraway gets congratulated by SHS head softball coach Ray Wilson after hitting her two-run home run against Ashford Tuesday. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn won its fourth straight area championship Tuesday night with an 8-4 victory over Headland at SHS in the Class 4A, Area 3 tournament finals.

The Lady Tigers cruised through the day, defeating Headland in the first game 9-2, and came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat Ashford 6-5 to earn a ticket to the Class 4A South Regional Tournament in Gulf Shores next week.

With this victory, the eighth-ranked Lady Tigers improve to 36-9 overall, and will face the Area 2 runner up in the first game at the regional tournament. Headland will play the Area 2 winner.

“I’m proud of them,” SHS head softball coach Ray Wilson said. “The teams we had to beat (Tuesday) — we got behind, not just in this game, but in the other games — we got behind in game one, and it just didn’t phase them.

“They had that fight about them,” he said. “We kept battling back, and we never seemed to lose our focus.”

Straughn 8, Headland 4 (Area Tournament Finals)

Facing a 3-1 deficit the second time of the day, the Lady Tigers put together two runs in the top of the fourth inning to bring the game to a tie, and added two runs in the fifth and three in the sixth to get the area tournament win.

Kelli Wilcox hit a triple to score Tori Bracewell, who reached on a double.

Wilcox would later score the tying run on an RBi single from Payton Mitchell to left center.

The Lady Tiger’s two runs in the fifth inning came on an RBI double from Paige Caraway and an RBI single from Bracewell, who finished 2-for-4.

The three runs in the sixth came on a double from Mitchell to score Wilcox; a double from Beck to score Mitchell; and an RBI single from Katy Messick o score Beck.

Messick struck out six and gave up four runs on eight hits.

Headland scored its fourth run of the game on a solo homer by Kathryn Drew.

Messick was 3-for-4; Bracewell was 2-for-4; Wilcox was 2-for-4; Mitchell was 2-for-3; and Beck was 1-for-3.

Straughn 6, Ashford 5

Caraway hit a two-run home run in the top of the seventh, and pitched a complete game for Straughn in the one-run win over the Lady Yellow Jackets.

Straughn scored one run in the first inning when Kaitlynn Wiggins scored on an error. Wiggins got in scoring position on a sac-bunt by Laken Harris, who would prove to be a key player in the game.

Ashford countered in the bottom of the first, adding two runs on a single by Lauren Odom to score Allison Moore and Leslie Morrow.

Straughn scored to runs, and took a 3-2 lead on an RBI double from Bracewell and a bunt-single by Harris.

Ashford tied the game up in the fourth on an double by Jessica English.

With the game still tied 3-3, Harris gave the Lady Tigers the go-ahead score in the seventh on an RBI single that scored Wiggins. Harris reached on her third bunt of the game.

With Harris at second, Caraway connected on her 1-2 pitch to send the ball over the left field fence, and helped send Ashford to the loser’s bracket, where they would end up falling to Headland 3-1 in the bracket’s championship game.

“That was big,” Wilson said about Caraway’s home run. “We got some good pitching all day long. They had their moments where they struggled a little bit, but they found a way to bounce back and hang it up.”

Ashford threatened in the bottom of the seventh inning by scoring two runs on three hits and one error.

The Lady Tigers held Ashford with runners on first and second, getting the last out on a pop up to Harris at second base.

Harris was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs; Wiggins and Bracewell were 3-for-4 each; Caraway and Tiffany Taylor were 1-for-3 each for Straughn.

Straughn 9, Headland 2

Wiggins struck out six and allowed two runs on four hits to help lead Straughn in the first game of the day.

With a 2-0 lead, the Lady Tigers opened up and scored seven runs in the fifth inning to take the wind from Headland’s sails.

Katy Messick, Caraway and Bracewell led with one single each in the fifth inning.

Taylor singled Messick home, and Bracewell later scored on an RBI single from Mitchell.

After Taylor, Wilcox singled and later scored on a two-run double by Beck.

Beck then came home on a two-run triple by Wiggins, who scored the last run of the inning and game on an error.

Headland scored two runs in the top of the sixth on an RBI tiple from Kathryn Drew, and an RBI single from Brianna Skipper.

Wiggins and Beck had two RBIs each to lead Straughn.

Drew earned the loss on the mound for Headland.