E.A. Sports Today

Callie in the clutch

White Plains catcher comes off the bench to deliver two big run-scoring hits in Lady Wildcats’ win in County Softball Tournament

Tuesday’s games
(Woodland Park)
No. 8 Ohatchee 14, No. 9 Saks 1
No. 7 Jacksonville 8, No. 10 Wellborn 2
No. 6 Weaver 11, No. 11 Jacksonville Christian 4
No. 1 Alexandria 9, Ohatchee 1
No. 5 White Plains 11, No. 4 Piedmont 5
No. 2 Pleasant Valley 6, Jacksonville 3
No. 3 Oxford 14, Weaver 0
Thursday’s games
(Woodland Park)
Saks vs. Weaver, 4:30 p.m. (F2)
Wellborn vs. Piedmont, 4:30 p.m. (F5)
JCA vs. Ohatchee, 4:30 p.m. (F4)
Alexandria vs. White Plains, 6 p.m. (F1)
Pleasant Valley vs. Oxford, 6 p.m. (F4)
Saks-Weaver winner vs. Jacksonville, 6 p.m. (F2)
Wellborn-Piedmont inner vs. JCA-Ohatchee winner, 6 p.m. (F5)
Winner’s bracket final, 7:30 p.m. (F1)
Loser’s bracket Game 18, 7:30 p.m. (F3)
Loser’s bracket Game 19, 7:30 p.m. (F2)
Friday’s games
(Jacksonville State)
Game 20, 4:30 p.m.
Game 21, 6 p.m.
Championship game, 7:30 p.m. (9 p.m., if necessary) 

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

White Plains softball coach Rachel Ford was giving catcher Callie Richardson another night off to rest her sore knees, and Richardson watched the early innings of the game from the dugout. She felt just as much in the game as those on the field and when Ford called on her hit in a tight spot she was ready.

Richardson came off the bench and ripped a double inside the third base bag that put the Lady Wildcats ahead and in her next at bat she launched a grand slam in a six-run fifth that sealed their 11-5 win over Piedmont in the Calhoun County Softball Tournament at Woodland Park.

“It was kind of scary to be honest, but you have to sacrifice yourself for the team,” Richardson said. “I was ready. I was sitting the dugout like ‘Man, I’m so ready to hit right now,’ and then those girls got on the bags.”

It was sort of a mild upset. White Plains is still a work in progress and is seeded fifth to Piedmont’s fourth. It was the only game on opening night in which the lower seed won.

No. 2 Pleasant Valley was tested by No. 7 Jacksonville, but held its own to remain in the winner’s bracket and the other top seeds – No. 1 Alexandria and No. 3 Oxford – both won handily. The tournament resumes Thursday with Tuesday’s losers looking to stave off elimination in 4:30 p.m. games.

Richardson entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Camden Wilson in the fourth inning after the Lady Wildcats just tied it 4-4 on starting catcher Hallie Williams’ RBI grounder to short. She ripped the ball just inside the third base bag and down the left field line to make it 5-4. The next time up she hit the slam with two outs to make it 11-4.

“We already had decided she was going to be a pinch-hitter possibly, but the catcher I had in the game was hurting pretty bad, so it all just kind of worked together,” Ford said. “I knew Callie could go in in that situation and stay in the ballgame.

“I had a feeling it was a good move at the moment and thank goodness it worked out. I would say when I get that feeling it works most of the time, but sometimes I look like an idiot.”

The move to bring Richardson off the bench was one of three hunches Ford acted upon that worked. The other two involved intentionally walking Piedmont slugger Emily Farmer to load the bases in the third and fourth innings. Farmer burned the Lady Wildcats earlier this year, going 3-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs in a 6-3 Piedmont win.

After the first intentional walk, the Lady Wildcats traded a sacrifice fly for a run and after the second they kept Piedmont off the board with an inning-ending fly out.

In the other games involving the top four seeds …

Alexandria 9, Ohatchee 1: Addie Jennings and Quendeja Bowie both homered and Rylee Gattis struck out nine over six innings for the top-seeded Lady Cubs. Jennings hit a two-run homer in the fourth to give the Cubs an 8-0 lead and Bowie hit a solo homer in the fifth. Abbi Whitehead had two hits for Ohatchee and drove in its run with an RBI triple in the fifth.

Oxford 14, Weaver 0: Tia Titi highlighted an eight-run fourth inning with a two-run homer and the third-seeded Lady Jackets hit for a team cycle within six batters in the inning. The Lady Jackets had nine extra-base hits in the game. Ellie Derrick hit three doubles and Titi came within a double of hitting for the cycle. Cohlee Boone pitched a five-hit shutout from the circle.

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