Lady Tigers finish runner-up
Published 5:00 pm Monday, May 7, 2007
By BY BRUCE HIXON – SPORTS EDITOR
History pretty much repeated itself throughout Friday's Class 4A Area 2 Softball Tournament.
The T.R. Miller Lady Tigers got a pair of 10-run rule victories over W.S. Neal that clinched a berth in Tuesday's sub-state round, but they also suffered a pair of setbacks to Andalusia that gave the Area championship to the home team.
The runner-up spot will send the Lady Tigers (11-18) to the Area 1 champion (Thomasville, Monroe County, Jackson or Escambia County) Tuesday for a best-of-three series. Game time has not been announced. Meanwhile Andalusia will host the runner-up from Area 2 in another best-of-three series that will be played Tuesday.
T.R. Miller had won its three previous Area Tournaments in Class 3A competition.
T.R. Miller 14, W.S. Neal 0
The Lady Tigers got a combined no-hitter from Leslie Nalty and Rachel Bostic in a 14-0, five-inning win over W.S. Neal in the opener.
Nalty struck out 10 over her four frames of work, while Bostic fanned a pair in her frame.
T.R. Miller scored its first seven runs during its first three at-bats without the aid of a hit. Keyetta Jones had the first hit that contributed to the Lady Tigers when she singled in a five-run third inning that took the lead up to 8-0 at that point.
Five of the Lady Tigers' seven hits, singles by Brandi Kennedy, Nalty, Taylor Guthrie, Leah Brundidge and Jones, came in a six-run fifth inning that ended the game on the 10-run rule.
T.R. Miller received nine walks in the game and benefited from five W.S. Neal errors.
T.R. Miller vs. W.S. Neal
T.R. Miller 215 06 – 14 7 1
W.S. Neal 000 00 – 0 0 5
Andalusia 9, T.R. Miller 0
Lady Bulldogs pitcher Morgan Battey allowed just one baserunner and struck out 10 to hurl Andalusia to a 9-0 win in the championship bracket semifinals.
Battey had a perfect game going with one out in the seventh inning when Natalie Neal spoiled it with a double into right field.
Battey was just as effective at the plate. She belted a three-run double in the opening frame that gave the Lady Bulldogs the only runs they needed. Battey later added an RBI single in the third and another RBI single in the sixth.
Battey's sixth inning hit was one of four straight Andalusia strung together in a three-run frame. The biggest hit in that rally was an RBI triple by Courtney Dukes.
T.R. Miller vs. Andalusia
T.R. Miller 000 000 0 – 0 1 1
Andalusia 311013 X – 9 16 1
T.R. Miller 17, W.S. Neal 2
The Lady Tigers ousted W.S. Neal from the postseason field with their mercy rule victory of the day, this one 17-2 in only four innings.
T.R. Miller, which beat the Lady Eagles for the fourth time this season, set the tone for the game in the opening frame when it sent 12 batters to the plate, eight of which scored. Natalie Neal and Leah Brundidge both had doubles to spark the rally. Leslie Nalty added an RBI single. W.S. Neal committed four of its six errors in that inning as well.
The Lady Tigers tacked on five more runs in the second inning despite the fact they hit the ball out of the infield only once and that hit was a single by Taylor Guthrie at the start of the inning.
T.R. Miller got another run in the third without the aid of a hit and finished things off on the 15-run rule with three more runs in the fourth, two of which came on a single by Alex Baggett.
W.S. Neal, which finished its season with a 5-14 record, managed just one hit against the combination of Nalty and Miranda Anderson. Nalty struck out a pair in one hitless inning of work, while Anderson whiffed five over three innings. The lone hit for the Lady Blue Eagles was a leadoff single by Jessica Jaro to start the second inning.
Jaro's hit later led to an RBI single by Katie Elliott that ended a string of 22 unanswered runs the Lady Tigers had scored against their Murder Creek rival on the day.
W.S. Neal picked up its other run in the third when Renee Boatwright reached on an error and scored when April Jackson's infield grounder was misplayed.
T.R. Miller vs. W.S. Neal
W.S. Neal 011 0 – 2 1 6
T.R. Miller 851 3 – 17 7 4
Andalusia 9, T.R. Miller 5
The Lady Bulldogs looked as if they would cruise to the championship after they jumped out to a 7-0 lead over the first four innings before they withstood a fierce T.R. Miller comeback.
Andalusia had RBI singles from Angelica White and Morgan Battey, but four errors by the T.R. Miller defense contributed to most of the Lady Bulldogs' cushion.
Battey followed up her one-hitter from earlier in the day with four more scoreless innings before she was pulled at the start of the fifth in favor of Mary Beth Arrington.
The Lady Tigers were able to solve Arrington. Singles by Keyetta Jones and Amelia Couture and a walk to Rachel Bostic set up an RBI fielder's choice by Brandi Kennedy, a walk to Janel McCorvey, and RBI singles by Natalie Neal and Leslie Nalty. Two more runs reached when Leach Brundidge reached on an infield throwing error and suddenly Andalusia's lead was down to just 7-5.
T.R. Miller's comeback attempt lost some of its steam when Andalusia got RBI doubles by Chelsea Carlson and White in the bottom of the fifth that knocked the lead up to 9-5.
Meanwhile Battey returned to the mound for the final seven outs and did not allow another hit or run.
The win was Andalusia's fourth in as many tries this season against the Lady Tigers.
T.R. Miller vs. Andalusia
T.R. Miller 000 050 0 – 5 7 6
Andalusia 132 120 X – 9 11 3