A glimmer of hope

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Straughn's Jacie Williamson hit a two-run single to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth inning against Kinston Saturday. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn’s Jacie Williamson hit a two-run single to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth inning against Kinston Saturday. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Trailing 5-0 to Class 1A’s top-ranked Kinston in the bottom of the sixth inning, Straughn needed a glimmer of hope.

The Lady Tigers instead got a flash.

SHS put together some big hits and scored five runs to force extra innings to cause a fan frenzy in the bleachers, but KHS added two runs in the top of the seventh and held the Lady Tigers in their half of the inning to win 7-5, at Andalusia’s high school fast pitch softball tournament on Saturday.

With the victory in the semifinals, the Lady Bulldogs advanced to the tournament championship, where they beat Shelby County 4-0.

Straughn finished in third place,

“It’s not the trophy we wanted, but we’re taking baby steps,” Lady Tigers coach Trent Taylor said. “I’m proud of them. We’re getting there. It’s just slow.

“I think they realize now (what they’re capable of) — Kinston’s got a good team,” he said. “It wasn’t just to come back, but to come back from being down 5-0 in the last inning and get the hits like we need to. There was a lot of maturity for our girls.”

Straughn’s Kristen Peavey hit a two-run double, Jacie Williamson knocked a two-run single and Hayden Willis hit an RBI double to lead the Lady Tigers in the come-back effort in the bottom of the sixth.

The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth when Kinston’s Breeann Biddle hit a two-run double with two outs to give KHS a 2-0 lead.

KHS went up 4-0 in the fifth when Madison Weeks hit an RBI single and later scored on a passed ball.

During the contest, Straughn initiated two rundowns, but each failed to convert the much-needed outs to keep the game close. In each instance, the ball was dropped when it was thrown to second base for the tag.

“We made some great plays and had a couple that were mishandled rundowns,” Taylor said. “We’ll go back (today) and work on that, and get batter at it.”

Straughn’s five-run sixth inning started when Laken Harris hit a single. Molly Stewart then reached on an error and Paige Taylor hit an infield single to load the bases with no outs.

Peavey hit her two-run shot to left field, Willis then connected with her RBI double to make it 5-3.

Williamson’s game-tying single came with two outs when her shot sailed to right center.

Kinston’s made it 6-5 in the top of the seventh when the runner from second scored on an error. The Lady Bulldogs then made it 7-5 on a hit.

Straughn kept the game close when Stewart started a double play to Taylor and Katelyn Kinsaul at home.

The Lady Tigers’ final three outs in the bottom of the seventh came on flyouts.

In earlier action for SHS, the Lady Tigers beat rival Andalusia, 10-3.

Kinsaul went 0-for-4 and scored three runs; Harris went 2-for-4 with one run; Stewart went 2-for-4 with a run; Taylor went 2-for-4 with a run; Payton Mitchell went 1-for-3 with two runs; and Brentley Armstrong went 0-for-3 with two runs.

Willis allowed three runs and struck out three to earn the win for SHS.

Straughn scored one run in the first, three runs in the second, one run in the third, two runs in the fourth and three runs in the fifth.

Andalusia’s Andi Hughes led her team with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning.

Olivia Dixon went 1-for-4, and Bre Dixon went 1-for-3.

AHS coach Brad Garner said the girls’ offensive production wasn’t there during the loss to Straughn.

“We’ve got to get more offensive at the plate and hit the ball harder, and put it in play,” Garner said. “Right now, we’re not putting a whole lot of pressure on folks defensively.”

In earlier action, Andalusia lost to Jackson, 12-1.

Kinston 2, Florala 0

Florala’s Lily Ritzel struck out five and allowed two runs on 11 hits in six innings of work for the Lady Wildcats against Kinston.

Ritzel and the Lady Wildcats’ defense held KHS to 1-0 lead in the third inning when the Lady Bulldogs had bases loaded with one out, causing an inning-ending double play.

In the bottom of the fourth inning and with a runner on third and two outs, Florala’s Lyndsee Edwards made a leaping grab on a blooper to short for the last out.

Kinston’s Anna Elmore scored on an error in the fifth to make it 2-0.

Throughout the contest, Florala couldn’t get its bats going, where its leading hitter — Callie Wise — tallied two hits.

FHS coach Pat Maddox said not only did Ritzel have a good game, the defense played well behind her.

“It wasn’t Lily’s performance, it’s the Florala Wildcats’ performance,” Maddox said. “Lily’s pitching was excellent, but I saw some people out there making some big plays. Kendyl McDaniel just catches my mind. She made some big plays out there.”