E.A. Sports Today

County softball

Eighth-grader Martin delivers a walk-off single to help White Plains avoid County Tournament upset; all top four seeds win

White Plains eighth-grader Callyn Martin (3) walks off with her teammates after delivering the game-winning hit in the last minute of the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s Calhoun County Softball Tournament game against Weaver. On the cover, White Plains coach Rachel Ford rallies the troops before they bat in the home first down 3-0. (Photos by B.J. Franklin)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – Callyn Martin wanted to make up for an error she made that led to the game-tying run in the worst of ways. She got her wish in a situation she always dreamed of being in.

The eighth-grade infielder rolled a bases-loaded single under the third baseman’s glove with two outs in the bottom of the fourth to score Lily Ponder from third and give third-seeded White Plains a much-needed 6-5 victory over Weaver in the Calhoun County Softball Tournament.

The hit, her second of the game, helped the Lady Wildcats snap a four-game losing streak and redeemed Martin from a rushed throw in the top of the inning that allowed the Lady Bearcats to score the game-tying run. It was their first victory since March 23.

White Plains now plays second-seeded Pleasant Valley in Thursday’s 6 p.m. winner’s bracket semifinals. Sixth-seeded Weaver plays Saks in a 4:30 p.m. loser’s bracket game.

“I made bad throws and I knew I had to make up for them with a good hit in the game,” Martin said. “I just wanted to come up clutch with a hit and get a win because we haven’t had one in a while and we really needed one.

“I wanted bases loaded with two outs so I could get a good hit.”

Ponder started the winning rally with a leadoff single and Presley Whitten walked. After retiring the next two batters, Weaver intentionally walked Hannah Fortenberry to load the bases. Martin followed with her game-winning hit that rolled just out of third baseman Alexis Callahan’s reach and shortstop Jayden Forsyth couldn’t make a play.

“Callyn’s got some pop with her bat; she’s a pretty good line-drive hitter, so I was pretty confident,” White Plains coach Rachel Ford said. “She’s also a gamer; she likes to be up there when the game’s on the line. She had made an error that cost us earlier and I thought it was a good chance for redemption so I thought she was going to be pretty pumped up for that situation.”

Weaver coach Gary Atchley said he didn’t walk Fortenberry to get to Martin. He just didn’t want to face Fortenberry’s hot bat, even though he knew Martin could be just as big a threat.

He coached the young shortstop in youth sports when she was in the Weaver school system through fourth grade. Earlier this year Martin scored 18 points on Atchley’s Weaver girls basketball team, prompting some around the park Tuesday night to suggest Martin was Atchley’s kryptonite.

“She’s been a thorn in my side,” Atchley said. “She was hitting freaking bombs and 3-pointers against me in basketball and now she got two big hits on me in a softball game. She plays really well against me for some reason. Good for her; she’s a great kid.”

The game set up as the best of a day filled with routs right from the start. Weaver scored three in the top of the first on an RBI-double by Callahan and a two-run single by Loralei Brown, but White Plains answered with five in the bottom of the inning. The Lady Bearcats added single runs in the third and fourth to tie the game.

“I want to give Weaver credit,” Ford said. “They hit the ball hard, jumped on us 3-0 and we came in and answered. I want to brag on them for hitting the ball and putting the pressure on us and I’m proud of my girls for responding and coming back and adding to the board after that.”

Fortenberry, Martin and Jordan Hinton all had two hits for White Plains. Whitten, Graci Surrett, Fortenberry, Hinton and Katy Rozell all had run-scoring hits in the first-inning rally.

“We talked about how we had to do better,” Ford said. “We’ve got to answer and we can’t wait all game because these are timed games and we need to jump on them right here. We just tried to stay positive and talk about what we could do at the plate to answer.”

As for the rest of the winner’s bracket …

Oxford’s Emily Thrasher spins a five-inning no-hitter against Wellborn. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

Oxford 10, Wellborn 0: Emily Thrasher pitched a five-inning no-hitter, facing one batter over the minimum, and was supported by three home runs. Brentli Champion homered twice and drove in five runs, while Sarah Howell went 4-for-4 with an inside-the-park homer and three RBIs.

The Lady Jackets routed Anniston 15-0 in three innings in their tournament opener, going 16-of-19 at the plate. Skylar Street pitched a three-inning one-hitter. Emmali Meads went 3-for-3 with three RBIs, while six others had either two hits, two RBIs or both. In its two games, fourth-seeded Oxford hit 30-for-44 and hammered 13 extra-base hits.

Alexandria 10, Jacksonville 0: Laney Dreyer pitched a five-inning three-hitter with 10 strikeouts. Maggie Phillips went 3-for-4 with three RBIs for No. 1 5A Lady Cubs and Leighton Sparks had two hits with three RBIs.

Pleasant Valley 10, Ohatchee 0: Julianna Ballew went 3-for-4 and Savannah Williams drove in three runs for the Lady Raiders (23-10). Williams and Lindsey Pritchett were both 2-for-4. Olivia Jones and Madison Borders combined to blank the Lady Indians on two singles.

Check out www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com for a photo gallery from the day’s games.

Tuesday’s games

No. 7 Ohatchee 12, No. 10 Piedmont 6
No. 6 Weaver 15, No. 11 Faith Christian 0
No. 4 Oxford 15, No. 13 Anniston 0
No. 5 Wellborn 13, No. 12 JCA 0
No. 8 Jacksonville 11, No. 9 Saks 0
Winner’s bracket
No. 2 Pleasant Valley 10, Ohatchee 0
No. 3 White Plains 6, Weaver 5
Oxford 10, Wellborn 0
No. 1 Alexandria 10, Jacksonville 0
Loser’s bracket
JCA 17, Anniston 1

Winner’s bracket
6 p.m. game

Pleasant Valley vs. White Plains
Oxford vs. Alexandria
7:30 p.m. game
PV-White Plains winner vs. Oxford-Alexandria winner

Loser’s bracket
4:30 p.m. games

Ohatchee vs. JCA
Saks vs. Weaver
Piedmont vs. Wellborn
Faith Christian vs. Jacksonville
6 p.m. games
Ohatchee-JCA winner vs. Saks-Weaver winner
Piedmont-Wellborn winner vs. Faith-Jacksonville winner
7:30 p.m. games
Game 19
Game 20

Anniston’s Anna Garrett denies Oxford its first run when she stops Ametria Wilson from crossing the plate. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

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