E.A. Sports Today

Oxford awaits field

Lady Yellow Jackets sweep into County Tournament finals

Oxford’s Rylee Waldrop delivers a pitch against Alexandria during Thursday’s county tournament winner’s bracket final. On the cover, Haley Lyner is mobbed by teammates after hitting a homer against the Lady Cubs. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — Great pitching and timely hitting propelled the second-ranked Class 6A Oxford into the championship round of the Calhoun County Softball Tournament at Choccolocco Park Thursday night.

The Lady Jackets (41-4-1) are seeded No. 1 in the tournament and took care of business in a 2-1 win over fourth-seeded and 4A No. 7 White Plains and then erupted past second-seeded and 5A No. 4 Alexandria 9-4 in the winner’s bracket finals.

Tension was in the air in the nightcap as the Yellow Jackets faced off against a red-hot Alexandria team that had beaten Pleasant Valley 13-0 earlier in the day and had not given up a run in the tournament.

Oxford had only given up one run in the tournament so it figured to be a pitching dual between Alexandria’s Maggie Phillips and Oxford’s Rylee Waldrep.

The air went out of the place quickly when Oxford scored one run in the first inning and seven in the second inning to open up an 8-0 lead. The Jackets pounded out eight hits in those two innings, seven different runners scored and six batters had hits. Ashlyn Miller had two hits in the barrage and drove in two runs.

That was all Waldrep needed as she mowed down the Valley Cubs for three innings.

“My rise ball was really jumping tonight and I got a lot of help from our defense and the eight runs from the offense sure helped.” Waldrep said. ”I am excited to be playing. We are driven by finishing second in the state last year. We are motivated to get back there again.”

The Valley Cubs got a little offense going with four hits in the fourth inning and picked up four runs. Timberlyn Shurbutt had a pair of singles to lead the Valley Cubs at the plate.

Haley Lyner blasted a home run to left center to get one of the runs back for Oxford before time ran out.

Oxford had to fight for its life in its first game of the night.

It got two clutch hits from Shelby Nelson to score their two runs. Nelson singled home Amber Dempsey in the third inning to put the Jackets up 1-0 and then singled home Brentli Champion, who had tripled, with the winning run in the bottom of the fifth.

“I was just trying to hit behind the runners and get them in,” Nelson said. “Coach Wayne (Yates) told me to do that and I was just trying to do my job and got them both into right field. I was just trying to help the team win.”

White Plains’ Shelby Wood blasted a home run to left field to tie the game 1-1 in the third inning. Wood was 2-for-2 with a double, walk and homer. The Wildcats had five hits, but Oxford pitcher JoJo Skinner was able to get out of jams with six strikeouts.

The Jackets only had six hits and ran into a couple of outs on the base paths in the second and fourth innings.

Oxford will wait with two aces ready while the remaining teams in the field play through to complete the bracket. Pleasant Valley faces White Plains (26-7) on the Signature Field at 4:30 with the winner taking on Alexandria (26-9-2) at 6. The championship game is at 7:30 followed by a second game if necessary.

Pleasant Valley bounced back after the 12-0 loss to Alexandria to eliminate Piedmont 3-1. White Plains shut out Saks 9-0 behind Katy Roszell’s shutout and Carley Wood’s homer to stay alive in the tournament.

Piedmont defeated Faith 9-1 and fought past Ohatchee 7-4 in other loser’s bracket games.

Weaver got a three-run walk-off homer from Mariah Thompson to stun Jacksonville 11-8 and then suffered a walk-off 2-1 loss to Saks. The Wildcats were down 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh when Annabelle Shelly’s base hit tied the game and a Lanie Dreyer single to center won it.

Sydney Clements’ single to left gave Ohatchee a thrilling walk-off 3-2 win over Wellborn, and Saks shutout Jacksonville Christian Academy 6-0.

To see more of B.J. Franklin’s photos from Thursday night’s Calhoun County Tournament action, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

Thursday’s Winners Bracket Games
Oxford 9, Alexandria 4
Alexandria 000 4 — 4 6 1
Oxford 170 1 — 9 10 1

WP: Rylee Waldrep. LP: Maggie Phillips. 2B: Maddie Wade (A), Ashlyn Miller (O). HR: Haley Lyner (O).

Oxford 2, White Plains 1
White Plains 001 000 — 1 5 0
Oxford 010 01x — 2 6 3

WP: JoJo Skinner. LP: Ashlyn Hinton. 2B: Shelby Wood (WP), Haley Lyner (O), Amber Dempsey (O). 3B: Brentli Champion (O). HR: Shelby Wood (WP).

Alexandria 12, Pleasant Valley 0
Pleasant Valley 000 00 — 0 3 4
Alexandria 223 5x — 12 7 1

WP: Emmah Rolfe. LP: 2B: Kara Perry (PV). HR: Timberlyn Shurtbutt (A), Millie Burt (A).

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