Tupelo’s resilient Lady Tigers stormed through the loser’s bracket with three straight victories before falling to Class 4A No. 2 Colbert, 10-2, in Saturday’s championship game at Stonewall’s Lady Longhorn Invitational.
After pounding 4A No. 3 Dale, 9-1, in their opener, the Lady Tigers (ranked No. 5 in Class 2A) outslugged Tushka, 14-9, in another elimination game, then they avenged Friday’s run-rule loss to old rival Stonewall with a 9-6 victory over the Lady Longhorns (No. 3 in 2A) in the loser’s bracket final.
“That first game (against Dale) kind of gave us some confidence, and we just kept hitting the rest of the way,” Tupelo coach Jason Goostree said after watching his veteran club finish the day at 18-5 heading into games against two other 4A powers — No. 1 Konawa on the road and No. 5 Latta at home — Monday and Tuesday. “I think we got worn down by that last game, but we played pretty well for most of the day.”
Stonewall began the day without a loss in the tournament but dropped a heartbreaker, 14-13, to Colbert in the winner’s bracket final. The Lady Longhorns fell to 20-6 with their two losses Saturday.
Colbert 10, Tupelo 2
The Lady Leopards took an early lead before Tupelo came back to tie the score in the second on a sacrifice fly by Samantha Stein and take a 2-1 lead on Shanna Davidson’s RBI single in the top of the third.
But Colbert — which outhit the Lady Tigers, 14-5 — took the lead for good with three runs in the bottom of the third, added four runs in the fifth and ended the game on the run rule with two more in the sixth. Jacee Bennett wrapped up a huge tournament with three hits and four runs scored, and Ashley Gray added three hits, 3 runs scored and an RBI in the win.
Grace Leland was 2-for-3 for Tupelo.
Loser’s Bracket Championship
Tupelo 9, Stonewall 6
Davidson and Thompson both had RBI singles in Tupelo’s four-run first inning, and the Lady Tigers still led 4-3 when they erupted for five runs in the top of the seventh to offset a three-run Stonewall rally in the bottom of that inning.
The seventh-inning outburst featured an RBI double by Davidson, an RBI single by Thompson and a two-run double from Samantha Stein, and all five runs in the inning scored with two outs.
Stonewall scored twice in the fifth inning on a two-run homer by Paige Curtis, but the Lady Longhorns managed just seven hits off Nelson — after touching her for 15 hits and 14 runs in Friday’s 14-4 rout.
“Slowpitch softball is pretty funny,” Goostree said. “Stonewall is really good, we just got hits and made plays when we needed to. It’s funny how sometimes the ball bounces your way and sometimes it won’t.”
Colbert 14, Stonewall 13
Colbert led 11-0 heading to the bottom of the second inning before Stonewall stormed back with three runs in the second and five apiece in the third and fourth innings.
The Lady Longhorns pulled to within 14-12 on Bradianne Daniel’s three-run homer in the fourth, then they pulled to within a run when Lyndsay Daffern drew a bases-loaded walk. Kaitlynn Wright followed with a hot shot to the right side that Colbert first baseman Morgan Wright knocked down near the line and converted into an unassisted putout for the final out before the game was ended by the time limit.
Daffern also had a two-run homer in Stonewall’s three-run second inning, and Brettney Brady and Bradianne Daniel went back-to-back to start the Lady Longhorns’ five-run third-inning rally. Cheyanne Miller wrapped up that outburst with a three-run shot.
Bennett hit two home runs — a solo blast leading off and two-run shot that made it 10-0 — in Colbert’s 10-run first inning, and Ashley Gray and Morgan Wright also homered for the Lady Leopards, who outhit Stonewall 12-10.
Tupelo 14, Tushka 9
Tupelo never trailed in a game where the teams combined for 30 hits in just five innings. Davidson gave the Lady Tigers an early lead with a two-run first-inning homer, and winning pitcher Landra Nelson hit a two-run homer in a five-run third-inning outburst that put Tupelo up 9-2.
After Tupelo added three runs in the top of the fourth to flirt with ending the game on the run rule, Tushka rallied for five runs in the bottom of the inning to keep the game going for another inning.
Davidson was 3-for-3 with three runs scored and three RBIs, and Nelson, Thompson, Stein and Kelsie Warner each had two of Tupelo’s 16 hits.
Tupelo 9, Dale 1
Nelson allowed just four hits over five innings, and Tupelo banged out 16 hits en route to the surprising run-rule victory over the defending tournament champs.
Stein drove in three runs with a groundout in a four-run first-inning rally (that also featured a two-run single by Chesna Henry), and added RBI singles in the third and fourth; Thompson had an RBI single in the fourth and finished 2-for-3, Kayley Sanders had an RBI single in the fifth and was also 2-for-3 in the win.