Troy’s Belles roll in tourney opener

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 30, 2002

Sports Editor

The Troy Dixie Belles scored five runs in the first inning and finished with a four-run flurry to beat Opp 10-0 in both teams’ sub-district tournament opener on Saturday.

Troy added one more run in the second before being held scoreless for the next three innings of the ball game.

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"We’re used to seeing faster pitching," Troy head coach Robin Sullivan said about his team’s three-inning dry spell. "I think that may have had our timing off. We just came out on fire and kind of cooled off for awhile. Then, in the last inning we got hot again."

However, Opp never really threatened in the game thanks to Troy’s pitching.

Starter Heather West and Troy’s relief tandem of Whitney Johnson and Whitney Merritt handcuffed Opp’s lineup, holding the visitors to one hit in the game.

Lacy Wade had a single for the Opp Belles in the fourth.

The difference in pitching was obvious and Sullivan said the good defensive outing by his team had much to do with experience. Troy’s Belles have been involved with fastpitch softball for five years. This is just the second year for Opp.

"That makes a big difference," said Sullivan. "We had that same problem when we first started but we’re coming around and looking real good. I’m proud of these girls and their effort. I didn’t see any slack out there. I like that, I like their hustle. That should win us some more ball games."

Eden Harris, Mandy Sullivan and Heather Snell each led off the first inning with basehits. Amanda Hayes and Johnson followed with doubles apiece to help put Troy up 5-0 in the early going.

In the second inning, Harris would come around and score again with Sullivan and Snell both hitting singles.

Troy would get just one more hit in the next three innings of play. Eden Stamey had a single to reach in the top of the third.

West pitched the first two innings to pick up the win for Troy. She struck out four of the seven batters she faced and walked two while giving up no hits.

The next three innings belonged to Johnson. She allowed the hit by Wade in the fourth, but struck out two batters to help Troy out of the inning. Johnson then retired the side in the fifth.

Megan Johnson scored for Troy in the sixth, after leading things off with a single. Ashley Simmons also added a hit in the inning.

Troy scored three runs in the seventh to close the game. Johnson and Mary Green led-off with singles and Merritt followed with a double as Troy pushed their lead to ten runs.

Merritt walked two batters in the last inning , but a fielder’s choice hit to third base ended the game for Opp.

Troy plays Elba at 8 p.m. on Monday night at the Sportsplex.