September 10, 2009

Lady Tigers Win Tourney Opener in Extra Innings

Cardiac kids is somewhat of a sports cliché, a nickname for a team that has a propensity for stressful finishes. Well with three of its first four victories coming in its final at bat, maybe such a designation is truly fitting for the youngsters of the Scotland County softball program that are giving their parents and fans plenty of blood pumping conclusions.

The first game of Saturday’s Knox County Tournament was a prime example as the SCR-I faithful had their aorta worked out in the seventh inning only to get some added stress for the ventricle in extra innings.

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Scotland County jumped on top 1-0 in the top of the first inning in the team’s tourney opener versus South Shelby. Skyler Alderton delivered an RBI on a fielder’s choice to plate the lone run in an inning that saw SCR-I get five batters on base.

The inability to plate any more of those runners loomed big, as SCR-I didn’t mount another scoring threat until the sixth inning.

South Shelby tied the contest at 1-1 in the bottom of the first. Megan Creek allowed a lead off walk and a two-single pulled the Lady Birds even.

SCR-I loaded the bases in the top of the sixth. Creek walked and Kelly Lister followed with a single. Loren Smith laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt and was safe at first. Alderton delivered her second RBI of the contest with a base hit. But SCR-I left the bases loaded and led just 2-1.

South Shelby battled right back, using three base hits in the bottom of the sixth to once again pull even at 2-2.

The seventh inning was a pressure cooker for both squads. Augusta Purvis led off for SCR-I and reached on an error. She moved to second on a bunt by Elizabeth Duzan. Creek mashed a double into the right field gap but Purvis was thrown out at the plate. With two outs Lister stepped to the plate and brought the crowd to its fit, smashing a two-run homer over the left field fence to make it 4-2.

South Shelby looked poised to go quietly in the bottom of the seventh. Creek struck out the first two batters and was 0-2 on what looked like the final threat. But that batter ultimately worked a walk. A stolen base and a base hit cut the deficit to 4-3. An error on the play allowed that runner to move into scoring position, and South Shelby tied the game at 4-4 with another base hit, forcing extra innings.

Due to time constraints of tournament play, the international tie-breaker rules were used. Each team placed the batter who made the final out in the previous inning, on second base to start the extra inning.

With Smith on second base to start the eighth, Alderton came through once again for the Lady Tigers, bashing an RBI double to plate Smith.

South Shelby ran out of heroics in the bottom of the ninth. The Lady Birds advanced the runner to third, but Creek had a pair of strike outs to strand the runner and preserve the 5-4 win and propel Scotland County into the tournament semifinals against North Shelby.

Alderton went 2-5 on the game with 3 RBI. Lister was 3-4 with a double and home run and two RBI. Creek was 1-2 with a pair of walks, a double and three runs scored.

The freshman hurler improved to 3-1 on the year, going eight innings. She allowed four runs, three earned on eight hits. She walked two while striking out 12, including seven over the final three innings.

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