Photo by Penny LomenickMarshall Academy softball players rush to the plate to celebrate a two-run homer by Rayne Rippee (7) versus Newton Academy Saturday morning.
Photos by Penny LomenickMarshall Academy’s Baylee Floyd puts the ball in play at the state tourney.
Erin Lomenick rounds second on her triple.
Sarah Jackson of MA makes a catch in right field.
Lady Patriots finish fifth in state
Marshall Academy’s quest for back-to-back Class AA state championships ended in the final six.
The Lady Patriots went 1-2 Saturday at the Class AA State Tournament in Magee. They lost by one to Newton Academy, dominated Benton Academy and then were eliminated by Clinton Christian.
They finished the season with a 34-9 record.
“Of course we were disappointed with the outcome on Saturday, but we lacked the maturity and knowing how to win when something happens that you were not expecting (pitcher Carlie Vannucci was working through an injury),” coach Carlton Gibson said.
MA trailed Newton 4-0 going to the bottom of the sixth Saturday morning and almost rallied for the win. The Lady Patriots scored three in the bottom of the sixth but couldn’t add more in the seventh – falling 4-3.
Two of the runs in the sixth came on Rayne Rippee’s homer.
“Rayne Rippee really swung a hot bat last weekend,” Gibson said. “Hopefully that will carry over next year.”
The Lady Patriots outhit the opposition eight to six but committed six errors on defense.
C. Vannucci and Erin Lomenick each had two hits, including singles in the sixth. Also getting a hit each were Faith Shankle, Victoria Gurley and Tyler Vannucci.
C. Vannucci pitched four innings, striking out six, giving up six hits and walking one. Hallie Turner tossed three innings, striking out two and giving up no hits.
The MA girls rebounded after lunch on Saturday. They scored five runs in the bottom of the first and went on to beat Benton 9-1.
In the first, Shankle and Lomenick led off with singles and C. Vannucci was hit by a pitch. With the bases loaded, R. Rippee singled on a line drive to center field, good for two runs-batted-in. Turner then got a hit and RBI.
With two outs, Zoey Rippee singled and picked up an RBI. Benton committed an error to allow the fifth runner of the inning to score.
The Lady Patriots added two runs in the second and two in the fifth.
Lomenick had a two-hit game, getting a triple in the bottom of the sixth but was left stranded.
Turner had a stellar showing from the circle. She struck out 13, walked just one and gave up only two hits.
The Lady Patriots made just one error on defense.
Saturday evening at the state tourney, Clinton Christian had one big inning and went on to knock off the Lady Patriots 6-1. MA placed fifth in the state.
The game was scoreless through three. Clinton scored one in the top of the fourth and then five in the fifth.
The Lady Patriots did not go away quietly in the seventh. Z. Rippee, Lomenick and Turner all had hits, with Lomenick getting the RBI.
MA outhit Clinton nine to eight in the game but left too many runners stranded – seven.
Shankle had two hits, and Lomenick ripped a double in addition to her seventh-inning hit. Abby Bell also had a double. Also getting hits were C. Vannucci and R. Rippee (a triple).
Both C. Vannucci and Turner pitched in the game.
The Marshall defense was solid, with no errors.
Coach Gibson praised his seniors – Molly Busby, Gurley, Sarah Jackson, Lomenick and Baylee Floyd – and also expressed his optimism about next season.
“We will miss our seniors, especially Erin’s leadership, and she played as well as I have seen her play in those Saturday games,” he said. “She didn’t want her season to end.
“We have a great group of returning starters. The outlook looks as good as it ever has. As this group matures and gets stronger, the sky is the limit. The future does look bright.”