E.A. Sports Today

Rally Rylee

Waldrep hitting more this season and Thursday helped good friend Skinner and Oxford come from behind against Southside

Thursday’s scores
Alexandria 6, Etowah 1
Cherokee County 4, Spring Garden 3
JCA 12, Faith Christian 1
Ohatchee 10, Weaver 9
Oxford 7, Southside 3
Piedmont 6, Pleasant Valley 3
Spring Garden 12, Gaylesville 2

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – Rylee Waldrep has made her name as a top-flight pitcher heading to Division I college softball, but Thursday she put her hitting shoes on.

Waldrep went 3-for-3 with three singles, drove in the go-ahead run in a seven-run sixth-inning rally and scored the final run of the uprising in a 7-3 area victory over longtime 6A nemesis Southside at Choccolocco Park.

The second-ranked Lady Jackets (21-3) trailed 3-0 entering the home sixth. Then they sent 13 batters to the plate in one of their biggest, if not most important, innings of the season.

Haley Lyner drove home the first run of the rally with a double that hit the third-base bag. Bailey Clark followed with a long sacrifice fly to make it 3-2.

That brought Savannah Yancey in from first to pitch, but she didn’t get any of the six batters out she faced. She hit Ashley Reaves with the bases loaded to force home the tying run, then Waldrep singled to give the Lady Jackets and pitcher JoJo Skinner, her best friend, the lead.

“As soon as I came in I threw my stuff down and said I got you the lead; she said thanks,” Waldrep said. “It’s a good feeling to be able to help out Jo when she’s pitching.”

Oxford coach Wendy McKibbin doesn’t really like her pitchers hitting, but there were things the Lady Jackets did last year on their run to finishing second in the state that required Waldrep in the lineup.

Waldrep’s experience as a pitcher is helping her at the plate. She may be hitting more this season, but even on nights like Thursday not enough to ask Georgia Southern if she can hit some next year.

“I don’t really distress about my hitting and stuff like that,” Waldrep said. “People ask me what pitch did she throw you. I don’t know, I just swing at it. It was good tonight.”

Waldrep singled in the third, fifth and sixth innings. Shelby Hicks and Sarah Howell both singled home runs as the rally continued and Waldrep scored on a wild pitch. Howell had two hits in the inning.

It was a lot less stressful on Skinner in the circle after the Lady Jackets put their seven on the board. Southside, ranked No. 7 in 6A, did load the bases in the seventh but Skinner got the last out on a foul pop behind the plate.

The Lady Panthers scored their three runs in the fifth on Becca Feazell’s bases-loaded triple off the centerfield fence.

“These kids have fight, they have grit,” McKibbin said of the comeback. “We made an adjustment late in the game … and we started hitting it. Rylee’s been on all night, squaring it up. Base hit here, base hit here, that’s all you’ve got to do.

“When you’re down 3-0 going into the fifth inning you can’t quit. My kids don’t quit. They fight. I mean, they’ve got a lot of grit, and I’m proud of them.”

Oxford 7, Southside 3
Southside 000 030 0 — 3 8 0
Oxford 000 007 x — 8 12 1

WP: JoJo Skinner. LP: Savannah Yancey. 2B: Haley Lyner (O). 3B: Becca Feazell (S).

Pleasant Valley’s Alisa St. John makes a sliding catch during Thursday’s game with Piedmont. (Photo by Daniel Lee)

Piedmont 6, Pleasant Valley 3: Kayleigh Williams and Tylin Wilson both had three hits and Hannah Hulsizer and Reecca Smart each had two RBIs for the Lady Bulldogs.

Piedmont never trailed in the game, scoring two runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings. Each time the Lady Bulldogs scored, PV would score one in the bottom of the inning.

Mikayla Kendrick homered and had three hits, as did Mac Parris, for the Lady Raiders. Kara Perry and Olivia Jones had two hits apiece.

Ohatchee 10, Weaver 9: Regan Snow’s one-out triple in the bottom of the eighth drove home Shey Clements with the winning run after Weaver took the lead in the top of the inning.

Snow’s game-winner came after a Tori Vice double, Shey Clements’ game-tying RBI single and a sacrifice. Weaver took a 9-8 lead in the top of the inning when Mariah Thompson singled home Rayne Beck with two outs.

Clements had two hits and three RBIs in the game. Gracee Haynes and Shelby Crump both went 3-for-4. Thompson was 4-for-5 with two RBIs for Weaver.

Alexandria 6, Etowah 1: Emmah Rolfe broke a 1-1 tie with a RBI single in a three-run second inning and pitched a complete game for the Lady Cubs. Kyleigh Rhodes had two RBIs for Alexandria.

Piedmont’s Morgan Martin (14) puts the tag on PV’s Mikayla Kendrick in this second-inning stolen base attempt. (Photo by Daniel Lee)

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