Baux­ite bests Nashville, will face De Queen in fi­nals

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - By Tony Lenahan tle­na­[email protected]­ton­courier.com

MAG­NO­LIA – Af­ter com­ing back from a 7-run deficit to out­slug the Mon­ti­cello Lady Bil­lies 15-13 in the first round of the 4A South Re­gional, the Baux­ite Lady Min­ers played a pitch­ing duel with 7-4A Con­fer­ence ri­val Nashville Scrap­perettes in Sun­day’s South semi­fi­nal. Com­ing up empty vs. the Scrap­perettes twice ear­lier this sea­son, the Lady Min­ers topped Nashville 3-2 in eight innings Sun­day to make to­day’s re­gional cham­pi­onship game vs. the De Queen Lady Leop­ards. First pitch is 6 p.m. in Mag­no­lia.

The Lady Min­ers (18-9) turned to ju­nior pitcher

Ruby Hause in Sun­day’s win. Af­ter giv­ing up Nashville’s only two runs of the game in the bottom of the first to trail 2-1, Hause would blank the Scrap­perettes the rest of the way, giv­ing up two runs on 10 hits and three walks in eight innings of work.

“She did an out­stand­ing job of keep­ing them off-bal­ance and stay­ing cool in the circle,” Baux­ite Coach Sara Tew said. “She went eight innings and our de­fense made some out­stand­ing plays be­hind her. I’m re­ally happy with the way we are play­ing right now.”

Tied 2-2 af­ter reg­u­la­tion, Baux­ite se­nior Ash­ley Red­mon started at sec­ond per ex­tra-in­ning rules, was sac­ri­fice bunted to third base by ju­nior Bree Hardin and fresh­man Riley Larkin grounded out be­fore ju­nior Kaia Thornton sin­gled to right field to plate Red­mon for the even­tual win­ning run.

The Scrap­perettes would load the bases in the bottom of the eighth be­fore Hause in­duced a fly out to cen­ter­fielder Thornton for the fi­nal out.

The Lady Min­ers would get the first three run­ners on in the top of the first in­ning when se­nior lead­off Tay­lor Sledd sin­gled, se­nior Des­tiny Mcclain sin­gled and Red­mon walked to load the bases. Af­ter a strike­out and fly out, Sledd would score on a passed ball for the 1-0 lead.

Nashville re­sponded with an RBI ground out and RBI sin­gle to take a

2-1 lead, but Baux­ite came back with a run in the top of the sec­ond when fresh­man Ha­ley Howard sin­gled and Sledd dou­bled with one out be­fore Mcclain’s sac fly plated Howard for the 2-2 tie, which it re­mained un­til Thornton’s even­tual gamewin­ner in the eighth.

The Lady Min­ers were out­hit 10-9, but Hause lim­ited the dam­age done. Mcclain, Thornton and Howard all went 2 for 3, while Sledd was 2 for 4. Hause also added a hit in the win with a 1-for-3 day.

GREG Davis/spe­cial to The Sa­line Courier

Har­mony Grove’s Shanna Shoptaw smacks a ball dur­ing a re­cent game. On Sun­day, the Lady Car­di­nals earned the No. 2 seed in this week’s 3A state tour­na­ment at Har­ri­son af­ter slip­ping to Bap­tist Prep 7-4. Shoptaw col­lected Har­mony Grove’s only RBI of the day.

GREG Davis/spe­cial to The Sa­line Courier

Baux­ite ju­nior Kaia Thornton lines up to catch a ball in a game ear­lier this sea­son. Thornton would have the game-win­ning hit and caught the fi­nal out of a 3-2 ex­tra-in­ning win over Nashville in the semi­fi­nals of the 4A South Re­gional Sun­day in Mag­no­lia.

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