PHS girls edge Luverne

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pleasant Home’s Mary Schwartz went 2-for-3 with an RBI to help lead the Lady Eagles to an 8-6 victory over Luverne Tuesday night. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Pleasant Home senior Mary Schwartz scored her team’s eighth run in the bottom of the sixth inning and the Lady Eagles got a key double play in the seventh to hold on and beat Luverne 8-6 Tuesday night at PHS.

The Lady Eagles led 7-6 going to the sixth inning, and Schwartz came in on a throwing error from Luverne second baseman Allison Riley.

Ninth-ranked Pleasant Home improves to 8-3 on the season after its victory over the Lady Tigers, who were coming off of a 6-2 area victory over Opp the previous night.

“It was a good one,” PHS coach Bradley Stephens said about the game. “The girls hit at the right time. They got a couple base hits off of her (Luverne’s ace pitcher Tori Free) when they needed to. That was important.”

Pleasant Home couldn’t hit off of Free when she came in to take over for starter Layken Sipper, and didn’t need to.

Schwartz was the only player for PHS to get a hit on Free, and went 2-for-3 with two singles and one RBI.

On defense, Pleasant Home’s Emily Byrd was in fine form, striking out eight and allowing two earned runs on six hits in 7.0 innings.

The Lady Eagles came out scoring four runs in the first inning after Luverne went ahead 1-0.

Byrd, who went 0-for-3 with an RBI, hit a sac fly to score Anna Bulger to give PHS a 2-1 lead after lead-off hitter Caitlin Jernigan scored on Ashley Copeland’s RBI single with two on base and no outs.

Then, Brianna Dozier hit a two-run single to score Copeland and Raven Woods to give Pleasant Home a 4-1 advantage.

Luverne made things a little hairy for the Lady Eagles, as it went on to score four runs in the second inning to take another lead.

Luverne’s Kelsey May, B. Odom and Taylor Quater scored on an error by Bulger, who fumbled a pop-up, and took a 5-4 lead.

The Lady Tigers’ first run in the second inning came on an RBI single from Quater.

Bulger would make up for her mistake by playing perfect the rest of the game. She made key catches in the third, fourth and sixth innings, and played a part in the seventh-inning double play.

Pleasant Home tied the game back up in the second inning when Bulger scored on an error.

Luverne would answer in the third inning to take its third lead of the game when May hit an RBI double to score Riley.

However, Pleasant Home wasn’t done.

Woods scored on an error after reaching on a single to start the bottom of the third inning.

Byrd reached on another error and reached third base about a minute later.

Byrd then scored the run that put the Lady Eagles ahead 7-6 off of Schwartz’s only RBI of the game.

Stephens said scoring the seventh run was big, considering the way Byrd was pitching at the moment.

“When we went ahead 7-6, I felt really good, especially going into the seventh,” he said. “But then when we scored that eighth run, that definitely put the icing on top of the cake.”

Luverne had to score twice in the top of the seventh to tie the game up and hopefully force extra innings.

The Lady Tigers got off to a good start with back-to-back singles from Free and Jamesha Thompson.

But the double-play took place on a pop-up to the catcher, who then threw the runner out at second base.

“Emily pitched really well,” Stephens said. “The defense came together. They knew they were going to be a good team and were facing good pitching. We’re just trying to get them prepared for that.”

Bulger, Copeland and Woods had one hit each for PHS.

Pleasant Home will visit McKenzie tomorrow in area action, and will then play in Straughn’s eighth annual Kirsten Dean Memorial Softball Tournament on Friday and Saturday.