Thursday, September 27, 2012
Lady Patriots district champions
Last week was indeed a successful one for the Marshall Academy softball team.
The Lady Patriots won their first District 1-AA championship since 2008. They then advanced to the finals of the winners’ bracket in the North AA Tournament, which continued Monday of this week.
They are guaranteed a spot in the State Tournament, which begins Saturday.
Marshall 6 N. Delta 5
The game Thursday at rival North Delta was the biggest one of the season so far for the Lady Patriots. They could have come out anywhere from first to third in the district.
The game was scoreless until the third when MA was able to push four runs across the plate off hits by Alexis McGreger, Maura Jane Autry and Hayleigh Mason and two errors by the Lady Green Waves.
North Delta answered with a run in the fourth.
The fifth and sixth innings were quiet for both teams.
With MA up 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh, North Delta led off with three singles to load the bases and eventually pushed three runs across to tie the game.
In the top of the eighth (international tiebreaker rules), Marshall’s Macie McClure was placed on second. Darcie Gibson started the inning with a grounder to the shortstop, who tried to tag Macie going to third, which allowed Gibson to reach safely. Elizabeth Skelton drew a walk to load the bases. Alaken McNeer hit a grounder to the pitcher, who got the force-out at home. The bases were still loaded when Megan Watkins came to the plate and got a huge hit up the middle to score Gibson and Skelton.
In the bottom of the eighth. the Lady Green Waves were able to score their runner on second but the MA defense came up big. McNeer recorded one of her strikeouts and Skelton threw to McClure at first to end the game.
“Our defense really stepped up for us,” coach Marcus Moore said. “Maura had a great game in center field. She made some big catches that saved us some runs.”
North Delta out-hit MA nine to seven, but the Lady Pats were able to hold them off and get the win.
McNeer pitched the complete game – giving up nine hits, walking two and fanning four.
MA 5 Canton 2
In the North AA Tournament Saturday at Carrollton, Canton scored its leadoff batter in the top of the first to go up 1-0 but MA never lost focus.
In the bottom of the second, Gibson reached on an infield single and ended up scoring off an RBI pop-out by Skelton.
MA got two more in the third. Hailey McMinn singled, Kat Moore hit a shot off the right-field fence and Mason singled to score McMinn and Moore.
The Lady Patriots added one more in the fifth. Moore reached on an error, Autry sacrificed to move her over, Mason singled to right to score Moore, and Gibson doubled to send Mason home.
Canton was able to push one run across in the sixth off two hits, but once again the Marshall defense stepped up. With two outs and a runner on third, Moore and Skelton caught the runner too far off the bag at third and after a couple of throws, Skelton tagged the runner out as she dove into home plate to end the game.
McNeer was in control from the circle. She pitched the complete game, giving up just three hits.
“Our defense played as well these last two games as they have all year,” coach Carlton Gibson said.
MA (23-5) faced Leake Monday at 1 p.m. in north half play.
The State AA Tournament will be held this Saturday, Sept. 29, and Monday, Oct. 1, in Flowood.
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