Lady Eagles 2nd in state

Published 12:05 am Saturday, May 19, 2012


MONTGOMERY — Pleasant Home rallied in the seventh inning with a runner on third with two outs, but came up short, falling to Ragland 3-2 in the Class 1A State Softball Championship Friday night at Lagoon Park.

“It was that close,” PHS coach Bradley Stephens said. “I don’t know really where to start. It’s one of those deals where the girls played hard. They gave a valiant effort. There’s nothing to hang their heads about.”

With this loss, the Lady Eagles finished as the runner up, one better than last year’s third place result.

PHS beat Kinston 6-5 by scoring two late runs in the bottom of the seventh to topple the Lady Bulldogs to earn a spot in the championship game.

Ragland, who won its third straight state championship, came back and beat Kinston 4-2 in the loser’s championship game to get a ticket back to the finals.

In the first game of the championship, the Lady Purple Devils beat PHS 13-2 to force the take-all if necessary game.

The Lady Eagles beat Ragland 2-0 in the first game of the tournament, and knocked Athens Bible down to the loser’s bracket with a come-from-behind 4-3 win in the winner’s quarterfinal game.


Ragland 3, Pleasant Home 2

Ragland’s Kaley Echols hit a two-run single in the bottom of the second inning and an RBI single in the fourth to help lead the Lady Purple Devils to the title.

Pleasant Home scored one run in the top of the first when Caitlin Jernigan scored on Ashley Copeland’s RBI single, and the Lady Eagles held a 1-0 early lead.

PHS scored one run in the fifth to cut the lead to 3-2, and had an opportunity to tie the game in the sixth inning.

Anna Bulger and Copeland hit back-to-back singles to start the sixth, and moved around when Raven Woods hit a ground out.

Emily Byrd then hit the ball high to center field, where RHS outfielder Lauren Wright made the catch and threw the ball home for a double play.

Stephens said he felt good about sending Bulger home.

“The throw out at home was the perfect throw,” he said. “I don’t know how many times it’s going to happen up here at this state tournament.

“Anna had good wheels,” he said. “You don’t make that throw all of the time.”

The first two batters hit straight to infield players for outs, and Abigail Kelley got on with a single in the top of the seventh. Jordan McGhee then hit out to center field for the final out.

“There’s only so many seventh-inning come backs you can have,” Stephens said. “Ours just ran out.”

Echols led RHS and went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

Copeland went 2-for-3 with two singles and an RBI; Woods went 2-for-3 with two singles; and Abigail Kelley went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.

“I knew that the girls knew what they had to do to win,” Stephens said. “But, we just came up short. They did what they could to get it. That was it.”


Ragland 13, Pleasant Home 2

Ragland scored nine runs on five hits and two errors in the fourth inning to run away to a 13-2 victory over PHS in the first game of the championship.

The Lady Purple Devils took advantage of some miscues by PHS in the field in the win.

Stephens said it was a lot easier to come back and play the second game of the championship.

“We didn’t get the runs,” he said. “You could see it happening.

“We had a couple bobbles here and if we could’ve kept the runners off, the big hits wouldn’t have hurt as bad. But, that’s softball.”

Ragland’s Emily Church had a two-run single; J.J. Looney, Kassidy St. John, Wright and Echols got one RBI each in the fourth inning.

Tournament most valuable player Sommer Wright struck out one batter and allowed two earned runs in five innings.


Pleasant Home 6, Kinston 5

Pleasant Home sophomore Helena Weaver hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to send the Lady Eagles to the championship game in a 6-5 victory over rival Kinston.

Trailing 5-4 going into the final inning, the Lady Eagles scored two runs, tying the game with one out, and got the game-winner with two outs.

Copeland launched a double to left, and Raven Woods followed with a single to put runners on with one out. Copeland got to third base on a passed ball with Woods up, and later scored on another passed ball to tie the game at 5-all.

Woods got to third after Copeland scored, and Weaver hit her single to shallow left for Woods to rush home.

The Lady Eagles scored one run in the second inning, and Kinston answered with three runs in the third.

KHS outfielder Alysaa Caver scored on a throwing error after reaching on a triple; Tasha Mack scored on a bunt from Macie Sanders; and Madison Weeks scored on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch to Callie Weeks.

Byrd then scored in the fourth inning on an error to bring the game to 3-2. Kinston scored another run in the fifth on an error and the Lady Bulldogs took a 4-2 lead going into the bottom of the fifth.

Byrd, who went 0-for-0 and scored three runs, walked on a full count and after a slight hesitation, tried for the steal at second base, while the third out was called. However, Kinston’s Chelbie Fuller kept the ball in play before the supposed third out call when she threw to second. During this time, Anna Bulger saw an opening and stole home on the Lady Bulldogs’ try at second.

Brianna Dozier tied the game at 4-all on an RBI single to score courtesy runner Cassidy Godwin, who came in for Byrd later in the bottom of the fifth.

In the sixth inning, Kinston took a 5-4 lead on an RBI single from Chelsie Fuller.

Byrd, who struck out three and allowed three earned runs in the win, battled in the top of the seventh, retiring the last two batters on a fly out to center and a ground out back to her.

Pleasant Home scored its two runs in the seventh on three hits.

Weaver went 2-for-4 with two singles and an RBI; Dozier went 1-for-2 with a single and an RBI; Bulger, Copeland, Woods and Kelley went 1-for-3 each for PHS.

Fuller, Emily Mock and Mack went 2-for-3 each to lead KHS; and Caver went 2-for-4.