Enterprise snaps Troy Belles win streak

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 17, 2001

Sports Writer

OZARK – The Troy Dixie Belles 13-15-year-old softball team finds itself in an unfamiliar position following its game with Enterprise Saturday. Troy will have to deal with its first loss in six tournament games.

After Troy rallied to take a 7-6 lead in the bottom of the sixth, the Enterprise All-Star team countered by scoring four runs in the top of the seventh to stun the Belles, 10-7 in second round District action at Stegal Park.

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Coming into the game, Troy had outscored its opponents, 98-9 in the previous five games and swept Sub-District play before disposing of Ozark Friday in the first round of District play. But Saturday, Enterprise held the Troy offense in check and used timely offense of its own to send the Belles into its first elimination game of tournament play.

"The girls did great, we are proud of them," Troy head coach Robert Carlisle said. "They have to come back and we will do what we have to do and we will beat Enterprise twice Tuesday night."

Enterprise did its damage off Troy pitching in the sixth and seventh innings, scoring seven runs in the final two frames off relievers Allie Park and Autumn Welch.

After battling back to take a 6-4 lead in the sixth and letting it slip away, Enterprise showed its resiliency once again with a four-run seventh. Welch walked Nicole Perry and fanned Tara McGrath before Ashley Hilton singled to put runners on first and second with one out. Megan Tillis gave Enterprise an 8-7 lead with a double and Jessica Barnard and Allison Jennings followed with an RBI single and double respectively to extend the lead to 10-7. Welch forced Perry to bounce into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded to escape further damage and end the inning. Barnard pitched the final two and two-thirds innings, sitting the Belles down in order in the bottom of the seventh, to preserve the win.

Enterprise struck first with two runs in the first off Troy starter Brittany Carlisle. Carlisle settled in to retire six of the next seven batters, including striking out the side in the second.

Chelsea Howard cut the deficit to 2-1 with an inside-the-park home run on the first pitch of the second inning off Enterprise starter Janita Santiago.

The Belles took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third inning. Samantha Johnson tripled with two outs and Malerie Sanders tied the game with an RBI single. In the ensuing at-bat, Howard lifted a routine fly ball to left field, but the ball bounced off McGrath’s glove, allowing Sanders to score the go-ahead run just ahead of McGrath’s throw. Howard was thrown out attempting to advance to third to end the inning.

Troy appeared headed for a sixth straight victory after a three-run sixth. Ashton Spann knocked in two runs with a double down the third baseline to tie the game with two outs. Following a single by Samantha Johnson, Sanders sent a high chopper to shortstop Kristen Byal, whose throw to second was too late and bounced off Tillis’s leg, allowing Spann to score the go-ahead run.

The loss forces the Belles to win three games to advance, but Carlisle is very confident of his team’s chances of running the table.

"I think this loss will be motivational for them. These girls played together, they swept the Sub-District and didn’t lose a game. They are going to come back, we will be at state, not Enterprise."