Lady Eagles Claim Sectional Championship
The Magnolia Blue Eagle Softball Team captured the Class AA Region I, Section II crown by getting over Tyler Consolidated in the best of three games at Tyler Consolidated May 8-9.
The Lady Eagles lost 1-0 in the opener as a Lady Silver Knight RBI single in the third frame from Christy Jones was all Tyler Consolidated needed. The Knights’ Kaitlyn Goudy was on her game by sitting down 12 Blue Eagle batters, while allowing only an infield single in claiming the win from the mound
Her counterpart, Eagle hurler Tori Tharp, was just as effective, striking out 12 and walking one, while scattering four hits.
Lady Knight Sammy Jones started the sectional off with a one-hopper to the left field fence for a double. Tharp struck out two of the next three batters to get out of a bad situation, unscathed.
Magnolia went down in order, with the last out coming by way of a called third strike out. Neither team made any noise in the second inning, but the Knights threatened in the top of the third. Tyler’s Mallory Hammond walked and a sacrifice bunt moved her into scoring position.
Christy Jones singled to score Hammond for the game’s first and only run. The next Knight batter smacked a liner to right field into the hands of Lyndsay Miller, who rifled the throw to first baseman Corinne Murdock for the double play and getting Tyler out of the frame without any more damage.
Sammy Jones struck again for the Knights with a solid single in the top of the fourth, but was left stranded when Tharp striking out the next two Tyler batters.
Miller got the only hit for the Eagles in the bottom half of the fourth with an infield single.
Neither team mounted any type of offense until the bottom half of the sixth, when the Eagles’ Brittany Batton laid down a nice bunt to the third base line. Goudy came off the mound to field the bunt, but overthrew the first baseman. The ball went to right field while Batton scampered to second and hustled to third when the Knights right fielder mishandled the ball.
On the throw, Batton took off to tie the game, but a perfect pitch and catch from the third baseman to Sammy Jones at the plate was on the money and caught the hustling Batton at home on a head-first slide for the third out.
Rachel Yoho and Sammy Jones led the way for Tyler with each hitting a single and a double.
In game two, the Eagles avoided elimination behind multiple hits by Murdock, Batton, Miller and Alexajo Hanna to go along with solid pitching performances from Hanna and Tharp.
Hanna started and went five innings, struck out four and walked three to pick up the win, while Tharp came in to close out the game, struck out two and walked one to pick up the save from the mound.
After an out to start the game, Abbey Horner reached first base on a Lady Knight error. Murdock lined a Goudy change up to left field for a single, putting runners on first and second. Batton hit a rocket to the Tyler shortstop who missed tagging Horner, but got Batton out at first with two runners in scoring position. Goudy struck out Marissa Bosley swinging to end the first without any damage.
Sammy Jones, the batting star in game one, stroked a hard grounder to Bree Carr at short who bobbled it momentarily, allowing Jones to claim first base. Jones didn’t like first much and stole to second. Hanna struck out the next two Consolidated batters and enticed the next one to ground out to Murdock at first for the third out.
Miller walked to start inning two and moved into scoring position after a Kelsi Heasley sacrifice bunt. Hanna helped herself out at the plate with a solid single to right field to score a hustling Miller, pushing Magnolia into a 1-0 lead. Goudy struck out the next Lady Eagle batter and enticed the next one into a harmless flyout to center field to end the second.
The Knights’ leadoff batter walked to start the bottom half of inning two. She then stole second and trotted on to third on a pass ball. With nobody out and a Knight runner at third, Magnolia walked the next two batters to load the bases.
Sammy Jones singled to right center to score two runs for Tyler. After loading the bases again, another single by Christy Jones scored two more runs to take a commanding 4-1 lead. All four Knight runs came after two outs.
In the top of the third with one out, Murdock rocked a Goudy fastball for a double. Goudy threw a wild pitch to move Murdock to third. A hard grounder to short by Batton was overthrown at first, allowing Murdock to score on the play and Batton to advance to second. A harmless pop out and a called third strike got the Knights out of any more damage.
Hanna put the Knights out in order and would single off the Knights pitcher’s glove to start the fourth. Carr singled and Horner walked to load the bases, but Goudy struck out Murdock, who was looking to end the frame.
Batton tripled as the Knights’ right fielder misjudged the fly ball and then scored on a Miller single. Goudy struck out the next two Eagles to end the threat, but not before Magnolia closed the gap to 4-3. The Lady Eagles would then retake the lead in the sixth.
It started when Dallas Mullett singled with a liner down the left field line. Carr bunted and arrived safely at first on an overthrow, which also allowed Mullett to score. After two outs, Batton singled to score Carr to give the Eagles the lead at 5-4.
Tharp came in relief and was greeted by a long fly ball to dead center from a Tyler bat. However, the Eagles’ Horner made a nice running catch for a long out. The next batter walloped a single, but Tharp would shut the door to get out of the sixth without any damage.
Magnolia picked up an insurance run in the seventh inning. After a lead off out, Mullett would get her second hit of the game and scampered to second on a wild-pitch. Carr then walked on five pitches and Mullett moved to third on another wild pitch, putting runners on the corners.
Goudy let loose her third wild pitch of the frame to score Mullett. Magnolia loaded the bases, but another bases-loaded strike out halted the Lady Eagle threat.
Tharp put the Knights out in order in the bottom half to force a game three.
In the tie-breaker, Tharp struck out 10 Knight batters, while RBIs by Miller and Mullett were enough to gain a 4-0 nod and a date with the Red Riders Thursday in Weirton.
The Knight defense gave up six errors in the contest and Tharp limited the Knights to just two Christy Jones singles.
Miller paced the Blue Eagles with a single and an RBI double, while Mullett added an RBI single. The coup-de-gras came from Eagle catcher Marissa Bosley with a triple.
The Eagles improved their record to 15-4 and move on to the Region I semifinals, while the Knights finish an outstanding season with a 13-10 record.