|No shame for OC in manner of exit |
|Posted: Thursday, May 13, 2010 2:52 pm |
BROWNSVILLE — Obion Central and Milan might still be playing Tuesday’s do-or-die District 13AA Tournament game if not for the tiebreaker rule.
Obion Central’s Olivia Grady throws to first during the Lady Rebels’ loss on Wednesday.
The Lady Rebels, who set a program record for wins in a season (22) this year, and Lady Bulldogs were deadlocked in a scoreless tie for nine innings before said rule was put into play, resulting in a 1-0 Milan victory in 10 frames on Wednesday.
“I can live with losing like that,” OC softball coach Tommy Victory said after the final game of his team’s campaign. “I told the girls in the huddle after the game that there’s no shame in losing if you play your best like we did today.
“Milan just has a really, really good pitcher and it was hard to get on base against her, let alone score.”
On Wednesday, the tiebreaker rule, which states that the final hitter of the previous inning be placed at second to start the next canto, was invoked after nine innings.
Milan’s Morgan Nelson took second base as the top of the 10th began. Then, during the at-bat of Maggie Wilson, the Lady Bulldog third baseman risked all and successfully got to third on a pitch in the dirt that squirted just a few feet away from OC catcher Leann Staser.
With the runner at third and no one out, Milan called off the bunt and the visitors banked on their three chances to drive in the go-ahead run.
Eventually, Wilson flew out, as did Kendall Daniels.
Nelson was held at third on Daniels’ fly ball to center field as Lady Rebel outfielder Liesel Grossner fired a perfect strike to the plate that surely would have resulted in the end of the Lady Bulldogs’ 10th-inning scoring threat.
With two outs and the potential winning run just 60 feet away, Madison Ballard smoked a clean single up the middle to plate Wilson.
Then, Lady Rebel pitcher Macey McKenzie got Blair Hubble to ground out as the county locals regrouped for the home half of the 10th.
Brooke Ferrell began the inning at second base due to the tiebreaker rule.
Leadoff lady Meaghen Strayhorn was not called upon to bunt. Instead, Strayhorn grounded out to the shortstop and Ferrell was nearly doubled off at second as she retreated back to the bag after the throw was made to first base.
“We took a chance at the end,” Victory said of his decision to not bunt with Strayhorn. “We had one of our better hitters up and I didn’t want to take the bat out of her hands.”
After Strayhorn grounded out, Dyersburg State Community College signee Casey Russell flew out and Maddie Bell was called upon to pinch-hit for Staser.
Bell grounded out to winning pitcher Alex Williams as the Lady Bulldogs lived to play another game — an eventual 9-1 loss to Westview in Wednedsay’s late game.
All totaled, Williams allowed just three hits. The Milan hurler struck out five and walked a pair.
On the flip side, McKenzie was equally impressive for Obion Central (22-13-1), scattering just seven hits and striking out a trio with zero walks.
Amid the pitching duel, scoring opportunities were few and far between although the Lady Rebels did have a couple of other chances to get a run.
In the bottom of the third inning, Russell led off with a single and Caroline Guy walked to put two on with one out.
However, Williams worked out of that jam.
Central also backed the Lady Bulldog hurler into a corner in the bottom of the eighth when Guy singled and got into scoring position on a wild pitch.
With a 3-2 count and two outs, Williams got Grossner to chase a high pitch to escape without incident.
Defensively, Lambuth University signee Olivia Grady performed like a vacuum from her post at second base, hauling in any softball hit in her vicinity. Grossner and Rapp were also solid in center and left field, respectively, with each making numerous catches.
The game was the final in an OC softball jersey for a list of eight seniors that included Grady, Russell, Grossner, Ferrell, Guy, Emily Taylor, Alex Rapp and Ashley Readenour.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.