Photo by Penny LomenickCarlie Vannucci pitches versus Magnolia Heights.
Faith Shankle makes a catch in center field.
Photos by Penny LomenickThe Marshall Academy Lady Patriots show off their championship trophy from the Indianola Tournament after going 6-0 on the day. Kneeling, from left, are Hallie Turner, Zoey Rippee, Tyler Vannucci, Molly Busby, Karina Mays, Haley Honeycutt, Evelyn Greer; second row, same order, are Scarlett Newman, Faith Shankle, Carlie Vannucci, Rayne Rippee, Erin Lomenick, Sarah Jackson, Abby Bell, Audrey Worsham, Victoria Gurley; in back are assistant coach Wayne Vannucci and head coach Carlton Gibson.
Erin Lomenick slides safely into second base versus Magnolia Heights.
Lady Patriots win thriller vs. Chiefs
The first edition this season of the Marshall Academy versus Magnolia Heights rivalry on the softball diamond did not disappoint.
“As usual, this was a dog fight to the end,” said Carlton Gibson, head coach of the Lady Patriots.
And when it was all said and done, his team celebrated an exciting 6-5 victory in the bottom of the seventh.
The Lady Patriots, playing at home, jumped ahead 2-0 in the first when Hallie Turner and Carlie Vannucci each singled and Rayne Rippee ripped a double for two runs-batted-in.
No Magnolia Heights batters reached base in the first three innings off Vannucci, the MA pitcher.
In the top of the fourth, the Lady Chiefs scored three runs off three hits and an error. In the fifth, the visitors added two more runs off a single and a homer.
Marshall, down 5-2, scored two in the sixth. C. Vannucci singled and was driven home by R. Rippee’s double. Another run was scored, courtesy of two hit batters and an error.
The Lady Patriots trailed 5-4 going to the seventh. C. Vannucci took care of business in the top of the inning – stranding a runner on third.
In the bottom, Turner and C. Vannucci led off with singles and a passed ball moved them into scoring position. R. Rippee hit a ball to the shortstop to score Turner. Then Victoria Gurley hit the ball to the shortstop to cash in the winning run.
Vannucci struck out nine, walked one and gave up eight hits.
Erin Lomenick also added a hit for MA.
The Lady Patriots had no trouble with the visiting West Memphis Christian (Ark.) Lady Knights Thursday. They won 17-2.
Marshall scored eight runs in the first inning with eight of nine batters getting a hit.
By the end of the game, 10 different Lady Patriots had recorded a hit.
Top hitters were C. Vannucci with four, Turner with three, and R. Rippee and Zoey Rippee with two each. Getting one hit each were Faith Shankle, Gurley, Sarah Jackson, Tyler Vannucci, Lomenick and Baylee Floyd.
Turner pitched the complete four-inning game. She struck out eight, walked two and gave up three hits.
The Lady Patriots capped off the week by taking the championship trophy in the Indianola Tournament Saturday.
“It was a great day in the Delta playing softball,” said Coach Gibson, whose team went 6-0 on the day to improve to 11-0 on the season.
MA beat Winona Christian 4-0, Carroll Academy B-team 10-1, Lee Academy (of Clarksdale) 4-1, Central Holmes 5-2, Washington School 5-1 and Indianola 3-2.
“Our pitching was dominating,” he said.
“Carlie Vannucci was our workhorse. She led our team at the plate and in the circle. Hallie Turner had a great day in the circle and at the plate.”
He said the only downfall Saturday was “leaving too many runners on base.”
“We need to focus on getting timely hits,” Gibson said.
The Lady Patriots added a new player to the roster last week – Abby Bell.
“She will help give Tyler Vannucci some relief catching and will be a big help to us at the plate,” he said.
He said his MA squad must keep working and get better.
“We have a long way to go to win a state championship,” Gibson said. “Our mental mistakes are going to catch up with us. We have some players who need to catch up or they will get left behind.”
The Lady Patriots visited Heritage Academy Monday and West Memphis Tuesday. They will host a round robin Saturday with Bayou Academy and Magnolia Heights also participating. Games start at 11 a.m.
Next Monday, Aug. 13, they host Carroll Academy at 3:30 p.m., and next Tuesday, Aug. 14, they host Oak Hill Academy with a B-game at 5 p.m. and the varsity game following at about 6:15 p.m. Both Carroll and Oak Hill are district opponents.