Published 12:02 am Saturday, May 18, 2013

MONTGOMERY — Pleasant Home needed an insurance run real bad.

The Lady Eagles got it in the top of the seventh inning in a 3-1 victory over Fayetteville to stay alive in the loser’s bracket of the Class 1A State Softball Tournament at Lagoon Park in Montgomery on Friday.

PHS coach Bradley Stephens said he didn’t tell the girls to do anything specific in the inning. In fact, he didn’t need to.

“I knew we had to get the ball in play,” Stephens said. “I knew they hadn’t been covering third base a lot on bunts.

“I had a bunt steal on, and I was waiting to see how it falls after that,” he said.

Abigail Kelley, who walked with one out in the inning, quickly stole second when she had the chance. On a ground out to first base, Kelley advanced to third, but a dropped ball by third baseman Brittany Snyder gave the Pleasant Home left fielder the room to score on the error.

“I was thinking run, run, run,” Kelley said.

With this win, the Lady Eagles advance to play Ragland today at 9 a.m. in the loser’s bracket. PHS faced RHS in the state championship game last year and lost in two games. In earlier action Friday, PHS fell 7-5 to Decatur Heritage to go down to the loser’s bracket.

Stephens said RHS has no quit.

“It doesn’t matter if they’re down 15-0 going into the the whatever inning, they’re going to fight,” he said. “A tough match up, but that’s what you get going to state.”

Pleasant Home took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning on Ashley Copeland’s RBI single that scored Brianna Dozier.

In the bottom of the fifth, FHS cut the game at 2-1 by scoring on a throwing error from Copeland.

PHS got out of some jams in the fourth and fifth innings. Krissie Herman made a key tag out in the fifth, and Caitlin Jernigan fired a shot home for the force in the fourth.

PHS got on board first in the top of the first on an RBI single from Helena Weaver.

Emily Byrd pitched for the win. Taylor McGhee pitched for the save.

Copeland and Jernigan had two hits each.

Stephens said the win over FHS was difficult after the loss to DHCA.

“That game was sort like those games where you lose a game that you don’t feel like you should have lost to, but then you’ve got to turn around and play another team,” he said. “They persevered and got through it.”

Decatur Heritage 7, Pleasant Home 5

Decatur Heritage scored five runs on four errors in the bottom of the fifth inning, and held on late to top the local Lady Eagles in the first-round game.

PHS built a 4-1 lead after the top of the fifth to ease the pain a bit, but that didn’t deter DHCA.

The scoring in the bottom of the fifth started when Decatur Heritage’s Peyton Barthel hit a two-run double to cut Pleasant Home’s lead by one at 4-3. Later on an error, DHCA tied the game at 4-4.

Then, Chandler Stephenson hit a two-run double to pull away at 6-4.

To get its seventh run, DHCA added another run in the bottom of the sixth on a triple from Barthel.

Pleasant Home scored its last run of the game when Anna Bulger scored on an error.

In the top of the fifth, Bulger and Caitlin Jernigan scored on a squeeze and error, respectively, to bring their lead to 4-1.

Decatur Heritage drew first blood in the bottom of the second on an RBI single from Stephenson.

The Lady Eagles added two runs in the third when Dozier hit a sac fly, and Woods scored on an error to give PHS a 2-1 lead.

Helena Weaver and Emily Byrd went 2-for-3 each to lead PHS. Jernigan, Woods, Dozier and Kelley had one hit each.

Barthel struck out six and allowed dive earned runs on eight hits in seven innings for the win.

Abby Walker got the loss, coming in during the bottom of the fifth inning. She allowed four runs in 1.2 innings.