Area Champions

Published 12:01 am Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pleasant Home’s Jordan McGhee throws a runner out at first during her team’s area championship game Friday against Brantley. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Pleasant Home beat Brantley 7-2 in title game Friday

Pleasant Home’s defense and batting were all the difference on Friday as the Lady Eagles beat Brantley 7-2 to claim the Class 1A, Area 3 championship at PHS.

Starting pitcher Emily Byrd went a full seven innings, allowing one earned run on six hits and striking out six while walking three to get the win.

Behind Byrd, the Lady Eagles’ defense got out of some Brantley scoring opportunities, especially in the third and seventh innings.

But, the Lady Eagles (25-12) tallied 10 hits against the Lady Bulldogs, and PHS coach Bradley Stephens said that was one of they keys in the win. Additionally, Stephens won his 50th career game on Friday.

“It’s just like what I was telling the girls (in the huddle after the game),” Stephens said. “A lot of awesome things happen when our defense is there and our bats started hitting the ball.

“When we started hitting, it became contagious,” he said.

Pleasant Home’s Helena Weaver, who led the Lady Eagles with one hit and three RBIs, got a clutch two-run double in the fifth inning to put her team ahead 6-2.

Stephens said that it wasn’t surprising to see Weaver hit the ball as well as she did.

Pleasant Home’s Helena Weaver hits the two-run double in the fifth inning. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

“Helena was hitting the ball during the Elba tournament,” he said. “Ever since I moved her into the (designated hitter) spot, Helena’s hitting the ball. She’s a great addition to the team.”

Pleasant Home, along with Brantley, advances to play in the south regional tournament next week in Gulf Shores. PHS will be the No. 1 seed, and will face the runner up of Area 1.

Brantley scored its runs in the third inning after PHS scored three in the top half of the frame. The Lady Bulldogs scored both runs on an RBI single from Sydnee Bryan, and then a squeeze play off of a throw out at second base.

In the top of the seventh inning, PHS added an insurance run on a sac-fly from Weaver.

After loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Pleasant Home’s defense shined.

Right fielder Abigail Kelley got a good jump on a hit, and threw to third base for the game-ending double play.

“The worse was it could’ve been a grand slam, but other than that, they would’ve only scored one run,” Stephens said.

Pleasant Home jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third inning, not so much from hitting, but on errors.

Caitlin Jernigan reached on a walk; Anna Bulger, who went 2-for-4, reached on a bunt-single and Ashley Copeland reached on an error to load the bases in the third inning.

Jernigan quickly came in on a passed ball, and Bulger and Copeland moved up in the bases order. Then, an errant throw on Raven Woods’ fielder’s choice scored Bulger and Copeland.

Copeland went 2-for-3; Byrd went 2-for-4; and Woods went 1-for-3 to lead PHS.

Bryan went 2-for-3 to lead Brantley.