E.A. Sports Today

Lady Wildcats ambushed

Big innings prove to White Plains undoing as Lady Wildcats drop two games in the Class 4A state tournament

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

MONTGOMERY – The thing White Plains softball coach Rachel Ford will remember most about her team’s short stay in this year’s state tournament won’t be the big innings that put the Lady Wildcats out, but the effort they gave to get here.

The Lady Wildcats were eliminated from the Class 4A tournament in two games Friday at Lagoon Park. They fell to Bibb County 12-5 and Satsuma 16-5 and in both games a big inning was their undoing.

Bibb County erupted for a five-run fifth after White Plains tied the game 5-5 in the top of the inning. Satsuma broke open the second game with a 10-run sixth.

“We faced really good hitting teams today,” Ford said. “We knew that they would hit the ball well. We didn’t hit it as well as we can. We didn’t play as good a defense as we can. You’ve got to make plays behind your pitchers whenever they make mistakes. When hitters make mistakes you’ve got to take advantage of that. We didn’t do that today.

“We’re better hitters than what we showed. We knew it was going to be tough coming here and we knew that other teams were going to hit the ball really hard on us. I’m super proud of the team. I think weve had a great year. Lots to look forward to next year.

“The fact they showed at regionals, that’s what I’m going to remember from this season. ”

The Lady Wildcats (36-13) fought their way through the losers bracket at the North Central Regional in Tuscaloosa and eventually beat the team that put them there in the bracket final to make it to state. They scored 47 runs in their four wins.

Those bats didn’t materialize at Lagoon Park and they really needed them.

The Lady Wildcats held the lead twice early in the Bibb County game, 1-0 and 3-2. They tied it 4-4 on a two-out error in the fourth, but the Choctaws (36-11) retook the lead in the bottom of the inning on a bases-loaded walk, then broke it open with five in the fifth. They sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning, getting four hits, two errors and two passed balls.

The toughest inning of the season though was the sixth in their second game. Satsuma (39-13) sent 15 batters to the plate, the first 12 reached base and 10 of them scored. Even when the Lady Wildcats did get the first out, it came on the base paths after a two-run hit.

“That’s a bad inning when you can’t get an out,” Ford said. “We faced a lot of batters that inning and it felt like we were just never going to get out of it. It’s hard to recover from that. That’s just demoralizing. Its hard to respond after that.”

Beyond the big innings, the Lady Wildcats did some good things. Lucy Medders went 3-for-3 in the Bibb County game and had a two-run single in the second inning that gave her team a 3-2 lead. Katy Roszell went 2-for-3.

The Lady Wildcats rallied from deficits of 3-0 and 5-2 to tie the Satsuma game 5-5 on Presley Whitten’s two-run homer in the third. Medders got them on the board with a two-run double in the second.

“I was just thinking someone had to step up and do it,” Whitten said. “So, I just got up there with the most confident things in my mind and just tried to think out the best.”

Their two opponents, however, just had too much firepower throughout the line. Bibb County had 14 hits. Anna Quimby went 3-for-4 with six RBIs, a triple shy of the cycle. Satsuma pounded out 19 hits, 11 in its big inning. Jana Taylor was 4-for-5 with five RBIs, three on a pair of singles in the 10-run inning.

“Our pitchers did a good job, they hit their spots … and gave us a chance to get here for sure,” Ford said. “This was a big team accomplishment this year getting to state and making the most out of what we had. I thought we showed a lot of fight at regionals, so I’m going to remember this team for that fight they showed there in Tuscaloosa.

“We’re not going to remember this game. I’m going to remember all the other games.”

Bibb County 12, White Plains 5
White Plains 120 101 0 — 5 7 4
Bibb County 202 152 x — 12 14 3

WP: Mychael McMillan. LP: Ashlyn Hinton. 2B: Anna Quimby (BC). HR: Anna Quimby (BC).

Satsuma 16, White Plains 5
Satsuma 122 10(10) — 16 19 2
White Plains 023 000 — 5 9 6

WP: Katelin Booker. LP: Katy Roszell. 2B: Alexis Weaver (S), Jana Taylor (S), Cameron Andrews (S), Lucy Medders (WP). HR: Presley Whitten (WP).

Cover photo by Shannon Fagan

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