Lady Patriots finish second in area tourney

Published 7:04 pm Thursday, April 21, 2016

MONTGOMERY – The Pike Lady Patriots took home second place in the AISA Class 3A Region 2 Tournament on Thursday, defeating Hooper 9-0 before falling to Autauga Academy 4-1 in the championship game.

“I knew it was about seeding, but the girls have never won a region championship,” said head coach Robert Rollan. “That was the goal. Just to build a tradition … We want these girls to graduate and come back so they can look back at 2016 and say, ‘I was a part of that.’”

Both games were pitchers’ duels.

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“I thought in game one they kept together and played good defense,” Rollan said. “They scored that one run and relaxed and were able to get some runs together. In game two, we just weren’t disciplined at the plate.”

Game one starter Bailey Rushing lasted seven innings without allowing a run and striking out 10 batters.

“She did really well,” Rollan said. “You could tell she was getting tired. She had trouble hitting spots late (in game two), but Bailey is a battler.”

After being shut down in the early innings, the Patriots rebounded in the final half of the game, compiling seven hits. Callee Jinright, Mallory Clifton and Elaina Strother reached picked two hits while Amanda Finlayson, Rushing and Danielle Brown each had one.

The Patriots were able to get a run in the bottom of the second inning when Rushing reached based on an error. After she advanced to second base on a wild pitch, she came around to score on a single by Jinright.

The Patriots sent eight batters to the plate in the fifth inning and scored two runs to go up 3-0.

After a Jinright double to begin the inning, she came around to score on a single by Clifton. Following a Strother single and a Finlayson walk, power hitter Yarbrough walked to the plate with the bases loaded. The Colts elected to bring in a new pitcher and on the first pitch she hit Yarbrough in the leg to score the Patriots’ third run of the game. The Patriots got plenty of insurance runs in the seventh. They sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs to go up 9-0. The Patriots got run-producing hits by Clifton, Finlayson, Rushing and Danielle Brown.

Game two had a similar start to game one. Both pitchers shut the door in the first three and a half innings. The first run of the game came in the bottom of the fourth when Autauga loaded the bases and was only able to get one run on the board.

The Patriots battled back in the top of the fifth. Katelyn Dendy led off the inning with her second hit of the game and scored on a Yarbrough single.

Autauga sent seven batters to the plate in the fifth inning and scored three runs on three hits to take a 4-1 lead.

The Patriots finished with six hits, led by Katelyn Dendy and Yarbrough, who had two hits apiece. Brown and Kayla Dendy each had one.

The Patriots will now prepare for the state tournament, which is set to begin on May 6.