Lady Mustangs hold onto reins for 10AA title
The Marshall County Tigerettes traveled deep into southern Tennessee Saturday at Loretto, trying to capture their first district title since 2006, but fell just short in a last inning comeback, losing to the Lady Mustangs 6-5.
Marshall County had beaten Loretto in two previous regular season meetings this season, 3-0 and 2-1.
The Tigerettes played from behind the entire ballgame, falling behind 1-0, 3-0, and 6-2 before mounting the furious 7th inning comeback effort.
MCHS blew a great scoring opportunity in the first inning, loading the bases with one out, but Loretto pitcher Caroline Ezell got out of the hometown jam, striking out the next two Tigerette batters on nasty change-ups.
Loretto got on the board in the bottom of the second on a leadoff home run by Stacey Gist.
Marshall County could not figure out Ezell's change-up in the top of third and her Lady Mustang teammates gave her some breathing room in the bottom of the inning, tacking on a pair of runs on a two-run double by Amber Vansandt.
MCHS freshman shortstop Brianna Roberts finally touched Ezell, leading off the top of the 4th inning with a home run, sparking a rally.
Once again, the Tigerettes had runners on second and third with one down, but could capitalize, leaving both runners on base.
Mieke Wallace was strong in the circle for the Tigerettes in the bottom of the inning, holding Loretto at bay.
KiKi Summers got things going in the fifth when she walked, leading off the frame. After a pop-up to the shortstop for the first out, Wallace blooped a hit to right field, putting runners on first and second. A courtesy runner came in for Wallace.
Roberts came up and delivered once again, lining a shot to right that scored Summers to make it 3-2, but the runner from first was cut down at third for the second out.
Ezell got out of the inning on a 1-3 fielder's choice.
Loretto scored three in the bottom of the inning with the big blast coming off the bat of Vansandt, via a two run homer, deep over the left field fence.
There was no scoring in the 6th inning.
The Tigerettes were down to their last at bat in the 7th and Summers got them started, leading off with a single to center. Dricka O'Neal followed with an infield single to get runners on first and second.
Wallace got another infield bloop hit, loading the sacks with no outs.
Ezell got a big 5-2 put-out at home for the first out and a line drive out to center for the second out, putting the Lady Mustangs one out away from the district title.
It looked like her defense would let her down when they committed two consecutive infield errors that scored three runs, making it a one run game at 6-5.
With runners on second and third, Ezell got the win on a nice grab at first by Vansandt on a game ending hot shot at first base.
"I sure am proud of that comeback in the last inning," said MCHS head coach Holly Barnes Cook after the game.
Barnes Cook added, "We just made too many mistakes today and they really hit the ball. Staying home is better, but you have to play well and perform wherever you play."
The Tigerettes had defeated Loretto in district championship games in 2004, 2005, and 2006 before Saturday's loss.
The Tigerettes will travel to Nashville Monday for a Region 5AA opening round game versus the winner of the David Lipscomb/Ezell Harding 9AA title tilt, set for today at 2 p.m. at Ezell-Harding.