|Devilettes quickly pass UC on way to title |
|Posted: Friday, May 11, 2012 6:53 am |
| By KEVIN WEAKS |
Union City needed every bit of 10 innings just to get into the District 14A Softball Tournament championship round.
It took South Fulton less than one inning to crush the Lady Tornadoes’ title hopes.
UC went three extra frames against Halls, using the international rule of starting an inning with a baserunner on second base to score its third go-ahead run in a dramatic 3-2 win over Halls Tuesday afternoon.
Then, after a short break, Union City saw tournament host and top seed South Fulton plate four runs in the first inning and all but lock up the postseason title, the Red Devilettes eventually winning 10-2.
The Devilettes improve to 34-4 on the season, equaling the school record for wins set two years ago, and will host either Huntingdon or McKenzie in the first round of the Region 7A Tournament Monday. UC, 21-15 overall, will hit the road on Monday to either Huntingdon or McKenzie.
South Fulton claimed its sixth straight 14A tournament crown with Wednesday night’s win. Having spent time in both 14A and 15A since beginning the program in 1990, SF has won 17 district tournament titles, including 13 in the 14 years Curt Lee has been in charge.
“The kids have played hard all year,” Lee said. “We’ve put together one of the better years we’ve had here in a long time. I don’t think we hung our heads at any time in the year. They’ve played with a chip on their shoulder about what happened last year, and I’m going to put a chip on their shoulder for it. Hopefully, we can go from here and keep a little fire under us.”
Union City, meanwhile, has now finished as the district runner-up five of the last six years, all five title-round losses coming to South Fulton.
In the latest edition, SF put the game away early with the four-run first inning. It was exactly what Lee felt his team needed to do.
“The best thing that could’ve happened for us was to jump on them early while they were still on their high from a very good, competitive game, and that’s what we did,” Lee said. “We jumped on one mistake they made and put four runs up, and that set the tempo of the game.”
In addition to denying UC yet another district title, it marked the Devilettes’ third win this season over the Lady Twisters.
That, and not the long and draining game earlier in the day, was the biggest factor in SF’s win, according to UC head coach Shane Sisco.
“The bottom line is that we’ve played South Fulton three times, and they’re better than we are,” he said. “In every game we’ve played, it’s been two innings. Here, they had seven runs in two separate innings. We just haven’t been able to overcome those innings. They’ve been the best team in the district all year long, and they proved it in this tournament.”
Macey Maxwell had the big hit for SF in the game-breaking first inning with a two-run double. Kacie Daugherty tripled to right field against a gimmick defensive alignment by UC and scored in the second, and then Melanie Johnson, running for Maxwell, scored in the third for SF. Daugherty doubled in a run in front of Haley McKinney’s two-run homer in the fourth.
Brittany Parker tripled to score Essence Ware in the sixth, and Sadie Hollis hit a solo home run in the seventh for UC.
McKinney retired the first nine batters she faced and finished with a three-hitter, striking out 10 and walking one. Parker (6-6) allowed eight earned runs on 13 hits, striking out two for UC.
“I’m extremely proud of this bunch of girls,” Sisco said. “We have five starters who had never played an inning of varsity softball before this season. For them to be able to get 20 wins and get to the regional tournament is quite and accomplishment.”
UC 3, Halls 2
Parker opened the top of the 10th inning on second and then came around to score what proved to be the game-winning run on an error.
Haley Bell could not duplicate Parker’s effort in the bottom half. Starting on second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, Bell was caught too far off the bag on a ground ball to the left side and tagged out.
Hollis (14-9) then finished a gutsy 10-inning effort in the circle by getting her pitching counterpart Laura Bell to meekly fly out to Katelin Wheeles at short.
Hollis struck out eight and walked seven while giving up six hits.
UC also had six hits, including a solo home run by Kristian Davis in the top of the ninth. Parker singled twice, and Wheeles, Ashley Faught and Hollis each had a hit.
Published in The Messenger 5.10.12