Patriots advance to regionals

Published 9:12 pm Monday, April 23, 2018

It was win-or-go-home at Pike Liberal Arts on Monday afternoon as the Pike Patriot softball team went up against rival Fort Dale in a best-of-three series to determine who would advance to the regional tournament.

The Patriots took game one comfortably 10-4 before winning by 10 in game two 12-2.

The Patriots will take on Hooper on Thursday afternoon beginning at 2 p.m.

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“I was really pleased,” said head coach Robert Rollan. “The farther you go in the playoffs, the tougher the teams.”

The Patriots fell behind early in both games and that is something that Rollan would like to see get cleaned up.

“The only thing I was concerned with was giving up two runs in both games early,” Rollan said. “That is something that we have to do better at. We have to start a lot sharper.”

The Patriots scored in every inning of both games on Monday.

“I was very pleased with that,” Rollan said. “We are hitting the ball as well as we can. We have to do a little better at playing defense.”

The two wins gives them seven wins in eight games during the month of April, exactly what Rollan wants to see as the Eagles progress deeper into the postseason.

“That is when you want to be playing good ball,” Rollan said. “You don’t want to play good ball in February; you want to play good now.”

The Patriots got meaningful innings out of their pitching staff on Monday. Dannah Dawson pitched a complete game one. She allowed the two runs on nine hits.

The only slip up in the circle came in game one when Morgan Bundy picked up just one out in her outing and allowed two runs. Rollan elected to go with eighth grader Ally Rushing the rest of the way. Rushing pitched the final 4.2 innings and didn’t allow a hit.

“Morgan has had a really hard time finding the strike zone,” Rollan said. “It’s that time of year where you have to say ‘OK, we have to put someone else in.’

“Ally for an eighth grader is as steady as they come when she pours strikes in the zone. She may not be the fastest girl in the world, but you’d better be able to hit her pitch where she throws it or you’re going to be in trouble.”

The Patriots finished with 24 hits in the two games. Grace Rushing and Katelyn Dendy each picked up four hits in the two games. Both had three hits in game two.

The two wins for the Patriots gave coach Rollan win number 401 of his career.