E.A. Sports Today

Oxford pounds Alexandria

Oxford pounds 17 hits in 18-5 come-from-behind win in battle of state-ranked teams; anxious Ellison pitches against her former team

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Taylor Ellison was so happy to talk about hitting she raised her arms in relief when the question was asked.

The drama in Monday’s game surrounded Ellison’s scheduled start against Alexandria — her first appearance in the circle against the team she used to play for — but it was the lumber that carried Oxford over the Lady Cubs 18-5 in a battle of state-ranked teams.

The fourth-ranked 6A Lady Jackets pounded 17 hits. Ellison went 4-for-4 with five RBIs and a walk to lead off the game. Haley Lyner and Sarah Howell both were 3-for-5 with three RBIs.

Lyner, who hit four homers in Oxford’s tournament win over the weekend, had a two-run homer that put the Lady Jackets ahead and an RBI double to extend the lead among her hits.

Every spot in the lineup reached base at least one. Eight of the nine spots had at least one hit and scored at least one run.

They were so prolific at the plate there was no sense of panic when they fell behind 4-1 in the first inning.

“We never quit,” Oxford coach Wendy McKibbin said. “I was proud of the grit that they had tonight and they hit from top to bottom. I was excited about that.”

Perhaps no one was more anxious about the game than Ellison. She drew the start in the circle for no other reason McKibbin explained than it was her turn to pitch. McKibbin told her it was her game during second period in school Monday and the senior left-hander thought about it the rest of the day.

Alexandria reached her for four runs in the first, but the No. 5 5A Lady Cubs had only one hit in the inning. There were two errors, two walks and a hit batsman.

Ellison did strike out the side and had five strikeouts in her two innings. Rylee Waldrep and JoJo Skinner worked behind her and shut out the Lady Cubs on two sixth-inning hits over the final four innings.

“The whole me pitching against Alexandria is a good thing, but personally I would kind of rather play second,” Ellison said. “I feel like I put a bunch of pressure on myself when I’m pitching against them.

“I don’t think it was nerves. I think it was like this is Alexandria, just big competition. In my head I’m like I have to beat them, I have to do good and I think I just pressured myself too much. But, again, my offense came through for me.

“When we play like we can, obviously we hit really, really well. I think everybody in the lineup hit fantastic tonight. I think we all just came together and did what we were supposed to do.”

Ellison had a two-run double and Lyner two-run homer gave Oxford a 5-4 lead in the second. Alexandria tied it in the bottom of the inning without the benefit of the hit, but Oxford put three on the board in the fourth and were never threatened again.

The Lady Jackets batted around to score four runs in the fifth and sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run sixth. The first six batters reached base in the inning and all scored.

They have been scoring at a prolific clip since losing an area game to Chelsea 1-0 in 11 innings last week. They won seven games in their own tournament this past weekend scoring 72 runs on 70 hits.

“I think our biggest thing is the focus we have at practice right now,” said Lyner, who is finding her groove after missing five months with a shoulder injury. “We work better as a team. We take everything serious. We go out there to get better, and we do that every day.”

Lincoln 3, Hamilton 1

GULF SHORES — Carlee Mullinax hit a two-run double in the first inning and Christavia Curry allowed one hit and struck out four in three innings in the Gulf Coast Classic II. Rayanna Powell drove in the Lady Bears’ other run with a second-inning sacrifice fly.

Lincoln County 6, Lincoln 0

GULF SHORES — The Lady Bears put two runners in scoring position in a scoreless game, but couldn’t push them across and Lincoln County crammed all its runs in its last two bats. Victoria Mitchell had two hits for the Lady Bears.

On the cover: The Oxford Yellow Jackets head back to the dugout after greeting Haley Lyner at the plate following her two-run go-ahead homer in the second inning Monday.

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