Dale tops Lady Tigers

Tupelo's Grace Leland fields the ball in this 2009 Ada Evening News file photo. Leland and her Tupelo teammates finished second to hard-hitting Dale Saturday at the Stonewall Invitational Tournament.

Photo by Richard R. Barron
Ada Evening News

STONEWALL — Any of the teams which faced the Dale Lady Pirates in this weekend’s Stonewall Invitational Tournament found out one thing — they are an offensive juggernaut. Unfortunately, the Tupelo Lady Tigers found out not once but twice.

The Lady Tigers suffered a 16-7, five-inning, run-rule loss to the Lady Pirates in the championship game after suffering an 18-6, three-inning, run-rule loss to Dale just an hour earlier in the winner’s-bracket final Saturday afternoon.

The bright spot for Tupelo was that after nipping Coleman 6-5 in eight innings Friday night in the winner’s-bracket semifinals, the Lady Tigers clawed those same Lady Wildcats 12-2 in a four-inning, run-rule victory in the loser’s-bracket final to get the second shot at Dale.

“We played better the last two days than we have played the last two weeks,” Tupelo coach Jason Goostree said. “We’re going in the right direction.”

The other local team still left in the field, the Sulphur Lady Bulldogs, did not have lady luck on their side Saturday morning as Coleman outlasted Sulphur 16-10 in an elimination game.

Championship

Dale 16, Tupelo 7

Trailing 7-0, the Lady Pirates (17-3), ranked fifth in Class 4A, got back-to-back-to-back solo home runs from Kendra Steward (her seventh homer of the season), Leah Bohannon (her fourth) and Sara Vance (her fourth) to cut the deficit to 7-3.

The good news, at least at the time, was that Ashley Sanford (whose father is former Sulphur Bulldogs baseball coach, and current Dale baseball coach Jerry Sanford) did not hit a home run, but she did reach on a Tupelo error. The bad news for Tupelo is that Danielle Dockery followed with a two-run home run (her third of the season) to cut the Tupelo lead to 7-5 — still with no outs.

After a single, another Tupelo error and a one-out single by Holly Hill loaded the bases, Chelsea Jordan hit into a forceout, but allowed Kaci Snyder to score to make it 7-6.Returning to the top of the batting order, Steward struck again — this time hitting her eighth homer of the season, a three-run shot — to give Dale a 9-7 lead after the first inning.

In the second inning, Dockery’s second homer of the contest, and fourth of the season, produced three runs, to help fuel a four-run outburst to increase the advantage to 13-7 after two innings.

After a third-inning, RBI double by Snyder made it 14-7, Dale got the run rule to take effect in the fourth inning on Bohannon’s RBI single. After Jordan (17-3 at day’s end) kept the Lady Tigers scoreless in the fifth inning, the game ended by run rule — and the Lady Pirates wrapped up the Stonewall Invitational championship.

But early on, it sure looked good for the Lady Tigers (10-5), ranked fourth in Class A. Tupelo sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the first, and scored seven of them. RBI singles by Landra Nelson and Grace Leland, a two-run double by Chesna Henry and Tamara Thompson’s first home run of the season, a three-run shot, gave the Lady Tigers a 7-0 advantage. But  Tupelo had only five total hits over the final four innings.

“With the wind blowing out, this field just is not big enough,” Goostree said. “The games they lost, they played on bigger fields where the balls they hit were caught. You can’t do anything when the balls go over the fence.”

For the game, Vance was 4-for-4 with a homer, three runs scored and a run batted in, Dockery was 3-for-3 with two homers, five RBIs an two runs scored, Steward was 3-for-4 with two homers, three runs scored and four RBIs, Bohannon was 3-for-4 with a homer, three RBIs and a run scored and Snyder was 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI for Dale.

In defeat, Thompson was 2-for-2 with a homer, three RBIs and a run scored, Amber Roberson was 3-for-3 with a run scored and Megan Bray was 2-for-3 with a run scored for the Lady Tigers.

Loser’s Bracket Final

Tupelo 12, Coleman 2

Unlike Friday’s winner’s-bracket quarterfinal where extra innings were needed to decide the outcome, it was all Tupelo.

After a scoreless first inning, the Lady Tigers erupted for six runs in the second inning, thanks to an RBI single by Roberson, an RBI grounder by Kelsie Warner, an RBI single by Bray, a two-run double by Nelson and a Coleman error.

Tupelo added five runs in the fourth — highlighted by Bray’s second homer of the season producing two of the five runs — to make it 11-0 before the Lady Wildcats, ranked sixth in Class A, ever dented the scoreboard.

Leading 11-2 after four innings, Shanna Davidson’s RBI single in the fifth inning got the run rule to take effect after Coleman was retired in its half of the frame.

“We started swinging the bats better (Friday),” Goostree said. “We wanted to play Dale again, so we hooked up. We weren’t going to hang our heads. We were going to show up and play well.”

Bray was 3-for-4 with a homer, two runs scored and two runs batted in, Davidson was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs, Leland was 2-for-2 with a run scored and an RBI, Roberson was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored and Kaylee Sanders was 2-for-3 with three runs scored for Tupelo.

In defeat, Beth Loudermilk was 1-for-2 with a two-run home run, her third round-tripper of 2010, for both of Coleman’s runs. K.J. Daniel was 2-for-2 for the Lady Wildcats.

Winner’s Bracket Final

Dale 18, Tupelo 6

Unlike in the title game, it was the Lady Pirates who jumped out to the big lead. RBI singles by Sanford and Dockery, an RBI grounder by Sammi Hambrose and a sacrifice fly by Sam Barry gave Dale a 4-0 lead after an inning.

After Sanders hit an RBI single to produce Tupelo’s first run in the second inning, Dale put the game away with an 11-run second inning. Highlighting the frame was Steward’s sixth homer of the season, Sanford’s third homer of the spring and Bohannon’s third homer of 2010. Dale took a 15-1 lead into the third inning.

For good measure, Dockery hit her second homer of the season to highlight a three-run third inning to help Dale evoke the run rule — which officially happened on Jordan’s one-out, RBI single.

“You have to at least keep up, or jump ahead and see if they can catch up — because they will catch up,” Goostree said. “You just have to try to go out and win every inning. They jumped out and won those first three innings rather quickly, and we just couldn’t catch up.”

Bohannon was 3-for-3 with a homer, three runs batted in and two runs scored, Dockery was 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs, Sanford was 2-for-2 with four RBIs and three runs scored, Steward was 2-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs scored, Snyder was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI and Jordan aided her own pitching efforts with a 2-for-3 performance with a run scored and an RBI for Dale.

In defeat, Henry was 2-for-2 with two RBIs for Tupelo. Nelson (10-5 after getting all three of her team’s pitching decisions) suffered the loss for the Lady Tigers.

Loser’s Bracket

Coleman 16, Sulphur 10

It was the case of poor defense and not enough offense early, and by the time the Sulphur offense came around it was too little, too late.

The Lady Bulldogs (8-4), ranked 19th in Class 5A, committed 10 errors, which helped the Lady Wildcats (14-5 at day’s end) score four runs in the first inning, two in the second and six in the third for a 12-0 lead.

But the Lady Bulldogs tried to rally. They scored seven runs in the third inning to cut the deficit to 12-7 after three innings. But that would be as close as Sulphur, which did not end playing Friday night’s final game until about 11 p.m., would get.

Coleman scored once in the fourth and three times in the fifth to up their advantage to 16-7, and the scoring ended with a Sulphur three-run fifth as the time limit made the game conclude.

“We had way too many errors,” Sulphur coach Blake Crawford said. “We gave up way too many runs. It’s hard to battle back when you give up 16 runs, with 12 of them unearned. It was just a lack of defense. We gave it some effort late, but our effort early was bad.”

Loudermilk was 2-for-2 with her second homer of the season for Coleman. Brittany Dill, Adree Young and Kristen Childers were all 2-for-4, Hailey Creasman was 2-for-3 and Summer Box hit her first homer of the season for the Lady ’Cats, who stayed alive in the next game with a 9-8, five-inning, time-limit game over the Tushka Lady Tigers to advance to their meeting with Tupelo in the loser’s-bracket final. Cori Harris (6-1) got the win for Coleman.

In defeat, Chelsea Reeves was 2-for-3 with her fifth homer of the season and three runs batted in, LaTisha Smith was 2-for-3 with her first two homers of the season and had four RBIs, Sierra McCurry was 3-for-3, Destiny Rodgers was 2-for-2 and Darsha Reagle was 2-for-3 for Sulphur. McCurry (8-4) suffered the loss.

 

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