E.A. Sports Today

Playoff intense

Oxford bounces back from its first loss to beat Alexandria in a thriller; Waldrep gets complete-game shutout

Oxford third baseman Shelby Hicks is ready to stand her ground as an Alexandria runner comes sliding into the bag. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – After suffering its first loss of the season the last time it played, the Oxford softball team couldn’t wait to get back on the field.

In a game that had all the intensity of a County Tournament final, Rylee Waldrep and the Lady Jackets had just a little bit more Thursday and took a 1-0 thriller from Alexandria at Choccolocco Park.

The Lady Jackets hadn’t played since their one-run loss to Hewitt-Trussville Saturday in the Spain Park Tournament that snapped their season-opening 14-game winning streak and they wanted to get back on the horse.

“I think every time you come off a big loss in a tournament you’re eager to play your next game to get that out of your mind,” Oxford coach Wendy McKibbin said. “This is a confidence booster for us.”

Waldrep held the Lady Cubs to four hits and struck out six. Her teammates managed five hits off two Alexandria pitchers but they played “lights out” defense behind her to turn back every threat.

“It’s always a big game when we play each other,” McKibbin said. “That’s a game you expect to be down to the wire, nothing for sure.”

The only run of the game came in the third when Ashlyn Miller doubled and scored when the Lady Cubs misplayed Ashleigh Reaves’ sacrifice bunt.

Alexandria threatened to tie the game in each of the next four innings, but couldn’t get the hit or bunt to bring the runners around. Seventh-grader Emmah Rolfe had two doubles for the Lady Cubs, one leading off the fourth right after Oxford scored and one in the seventh to get the tying run in scoring position.

“We just didn’t execute, which is typical of a team that hadn’t had many games under their belt,” Alexandria coach Brian Hess said. “They (Oxford) played close to 20 games, this was our fifth so it’s still early for us.

“If it were April 9, I’d be worried about it after we had 20 games in us. But it’s five games and with the quality of opponents we’ve played to be 3-2 I couldn’t ask for anything better. We’re young in the pitching circle and they’re starting to come into their own and I’m hoping the more pitching we see the better we’re going to get.”

Oxford 1, Alexandria 0
Alexandria 000 000 0 — 0 4 1
Oxford 001 000 x — 1 5 2

WP: Rylee Waldrep. LP: Leighton Sparks. 2B: Jessica Shaw (A), Emmah Rolfe 2 (A), Ashlyn Miller (O).

Oxford’s Amber Dempsey (35) takes off for second with behind Alexandria first baseman Mattie Wade. On the cover, Oxford pitcher Rylee Waldrep crafted a complete-game shutout. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos).

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