E.A. Sports Today

Waldrep, Clark sharp

Oxford heads to regional in Huntsville after winning Class 6A Area 12 tournament championship

Wednesday’s scores
3A Area 10 Championship: Wellborn 11, Weaver 4
5A Area 13: Boaz 5, Etowah 3
5A Area 13 Championship: Alexandria 8. Boaz 2
6A Area 13 Championship: Oxford 9, Southside 2

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – Oxford right-handed pitcher Rylee Waldrep has been motivated all season long by last year’s loss to Chelsea in the state championship game. With each victory, especially at this point in the season, the Lady Jackets move a step closer to getting back to Montgomery to make amends.

Waldrep was magnificent in the circle Wednesday night as she pitched Oxford past Southside 9-2 for the Class 6A Area 13 championship that completes the first step on the journey back to Lagoon Park.

Waldrep struck out seven and had impeccable control. At one point she threw 18 straight strikes and retired 12 batters in a row. She threw 64 strikes among her 81 pitches and went to two balls in the count on only four hitters.

Three of the first four Southside hitters reached on singles, but Waldrep settled down and only allowed two hits the rest of the way — both infield singles.

“My rise ball was really working and they were chasing it,” Waldrep said. “The umpire was giving me a big strike zone and I was taking advantage of it. We are pretty hard to beat with a defense like we have. Amber (Dempsey) and Kaylynn (Garrett) were just crazy out there.”

The Jackets’ bats were just as productive. They banged out 11 hits, led by third baseman Bailey Clark’s two doubles, a single and five RBIs. Clark got Oxford (44-5-1) on the board in the top of the first with a two-run double that scored Garrett and Haley Lyner.

After Southside (28-17) tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the first inning, the Jackets blew the game open with five runs in the second. Sarah Howell and Lyner had RBI singles to start the inning and Clark slammed a two-out bases-loaded shot off the top of the right centerfield fence to drive in three more runs.

“I went to the cages after Tuesday night’s games and that gave me confidence today,” Clark said. “Their pitcher would go to a drop ball or a change-up when she was ahead in the count and we were sitting on those pitches, and when we got those pitches we hit them.

“It is all about winning each game for those six seniors over there. We are doing it all for them.”

Lyner singled home Howell for an insurance run in the fourth inning and the Jackets added another run in the seventh when Ashleigh Reaves was hit by a pitch that forced in the final run.

In all, 17 Yellow Jackets batters reached base against three Panther pitchers.

Oxford and Southside will be heading to Huntsville for the Regionals, likely with the expectation of seeing each other again this season. The top two teams from the regionals advance to the state tournament. They finished second and third last year.

Oxford 9, Southside 2
Oxford 250 100 1 — 9 12 2
Southside 200 000 0 — 2 5 0

WP: Rylee Waldrep. LP: Mallary Smith. 2B: Bailey Clark 2 (O), Rylee Waldrep (O). Hitting — Oxford: Sarah Howell 2-5, 2 runs, RBI; Kaylynn Garrett 1-4, run; Haley Lyner 2-3, 3 runs, 2 RBIs; Amber Dempsey 1-3, run; Bailey Clark 3-4, 5 RBIs; Ashlyn Miller 1-3; Rylee Waldrep 1-4; Ashleigh Reaves 1-2, RBI; Shelby Hicks 0-2, run; Shelby Caldwell 0-1. Southside: Emilee Coker 2-3, run; Lauren Hunt 0-3, RBI; Mallary Smith 2-3, run; Becca Feazell 1-3; Caroline Pope 0-3; Hannah Hufstetler 1-3, RBI; Savannah Yancey 0-3; Sydney Yancey 0-2; Kaylee Brown 0-3.

Alexandria 8, Boaz 2:
Maggie Phillips’ two-run single highlighted a five-run first inning that sent the Lady Cubs on their way to the area tournament championship. Phillips wound up with three RBIs and she also threw a complete-game five-hitter for the win.

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