E.A. Sports Today

Wildcats come alive at right time

[corner-ad id=2]White Plains dominant in reaching area tournament title round, guaranteeing spot in regionals

White Plains catcher Carley Wood prepares to put the tag on Saks' Daja Johnson for the final out of their game Monday night.

White Plains catcher Carley Wood prepares to put the tag on Saks’ Daja Johnson for the final out of their game Monday night.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Top-seeded White Plains used two dominating performances Monday to move into the winner’s bracket final of the Class 4A Area 11 tournament and guarantee a place in the regionals.

The Wildcats smashed Jacksonville 10-0 and did the same to Saks 12-0. They now await the winner of today’s 4:30 p.m. elimination game between Saks and Cleburne County.

Saks knocked Cleburne County into the loser’s bracket 2-0. The Tigers then eliminated Jacksonville 3-1.

“That guaranteed us going to regionals no matter what happens tomorrow, so obviously that’s a relief, a big pressure off of our shoulders,” White Plains coach Rachel Ford said. “We’re there, now I’m hoping we can enjoy tomorrow and finish the deal.”

White Plains ace pitcher Anna Snider pitched a three-hitter in the first game with eight strikeouts and a one-hitter in the second. The only hit she gave up in the nightcap was a fifth-inning single to Daja Johnson, and she was cut down at the plate for the final out of the game.

“Definitely she’s flipped the switch and she’s in game mode,” Ford said of her ace. “She was dealing tonight. She wasn’t missing her spots. Anything I called it was on point. She was definitely in the moment and it was fun to see. She was not wanting to lose on this field for her last home games.”

The Wildcats pounded 12 hits in their second game with every spot in the lineup reaching base at least once. Shelby Wood reached base all four times she batted, Greenwood went 3-for-3 and reached four times, and Lauren Mueller and Isabella Pinto had two hits apiece.

“I’m super excited about the way we hit the ball,” Ford said. “There are times you can be a little flat, maybe almost be a little tense. They knew what was on the line here, so I was a little bit nervous that we would be tense at the plate trying too hard.

“But it was good to see us relax and do what we have prepared to do all this year, and that’s just attack good pitches and square the ball up. We’re not missing right now. We’re line-driving the ball. It’s really nice to see. Even our misses are pretty hard hit, so I hope that continues. That’s going to carry us a far way.”

Greenwood called the showing in the doubleheader “awesome,” and said the Wildcats will carry a lot of momentum into today’s games.

Saks’ surging squad, meanwhile, threw up a big roadblock on Cleburne County’s rolling express. Tigers coach Ron Ervin called the loss an “attention grabber” for his team and he’ll be very interested to see how it responds today, especially after taking some extra batting practice before heading over to the field.

The outcome of the game will send a pretty good team out of the state playoffs.

“Sometimes you need that kind of like an attention grabber a little bit,” Ervin said. “Sometimes when you get on that roll you kind of relax a little bit and I definitely think we relaxed a little bit.

“Hopefully it’ll motivate them. Definitely they know they’re backs are against the wall; we can’t afford another hiccup. We always talk to them about showing their teeth. When animals show their teeth, they mean it. So I told them make sure we’re going to show our teeth and you mean it.”

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