Lady Bulldogs rally past Culleoka

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Cornersville shortstop Makenzie Hopkins scoops up a ground ball by Culleoka's Mariah Delk in the top of the first inning before throwing Delk out at first base. Photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

The Cornersville Lady Bulldogs kept themselves in the running for one of the top three seeds in the upcoming District 11-A tournament by defeating second place Culleoka 5-4 at home on Friday night to record their 10th straight win over the Lady Warriors.

Culleoka (5-8, 4-3 District) appeared they might break Cornersville's hex over them and held a 4-3 lead through the first six and a half innings of play.

The Lady Bulldogs, however, conjured up some magic in the bottom of the seventh and pulled out the victory by pushing across two runs in the frame on four hits, capped by a game winning RBI double from senior shortstop Makenzie Hopkins.

Cornersville pitcher Taylor Wolaver throws out Culleoka's Kacy Anderson at first base to complete a 1-3 double play after catching a humpback liner by Niki Lee in the top of the fourth inning.

"She threw the first pitch right down the middle in my first three at bats tonight so I just decided to swing at this one and made good contact," said Hopkins. "I think this will help our confidence some because this was an important District win for us."

Aided by their seventh inning rally, Cornersville (6-8, 4-4 District) finished with 10 hits against Lady Warrior starting pitcher Mariah Delk.

Lady Bulldog starting hurler Taylor Wolaver helped her cause by going 3-for-4 with a stolen base, while Hopkins (2 RBI) and right fielder Miranda Cooksey (1 RBI) each tallied two hits. MandiLynn Calahan (1 RBI), Kaitlyn Rogers, and Kelsey Wortham also notched one hit apiece for Cornersville.

Wolaver picked up the win in the circle as well, as she allowed four runs, only one earned, on nine hits and three walks to go along with six strikeouts.

Cornersville grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Makayla Campbell scored on a Hopkins RBI single after reaching first base on an error and advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt by Calahan and a Wolaver single.

The Lady Warriors stranded a runner in scoring position each of the next two innings before the Lady Bulldogs used a couple of nice defensive plays to hold Culleoka scoreless in the top of the fourth. After Justice Stewart was thrown out at second by Cooksey trying to stretch a single into a double, Kacy Anderson reached base on an infield single, but Wolaver caught a humpback liner by Niki Lee and doubled Anderson off first to end the inning.

The Lady Warriors finally broke through in the top of the fifth and crossed home plate three times in the frame with the help of a walk, a Whitney Duke single, two Cornersville errors, and a two-run single by Stewart to grab a 3-1 lead.

The Lady Bulldogs revived their offense in the bottom of the fifth and trimmed the deficit to 3-2 thanks to a leadoff double by Wortham, a Breanne Dunkleman sacrifice bunt, and a RBI single by Cooksey.

In the sixth inning, Cornersville centerfielder Brittney Crowell helped extinguish a Culleoka scoring threat when she made a sliding catch on a sinking line drive by Whitney Duke to start a 8-1-5 double play after the Lady Warriors had put runners on second and third with one out.

The Lady Bulldogs then scored another run in the bottom of the sixth on an error and a pair of singles from Wolaver and Rogers to knot the game at 3-3.

Culleoka took a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh on a RBI double by Anderson, but Cooksey jumpstarted Cornersville's rally in the bottom half of the frame when she led off the inning with a single and stole second.

After advancing to third on a Campbell sacrifice bunt, Cooksey raced home on a RBI single by Calahan to tie the score at 4-4. Wolaver then singled to put runners on first and second with one out, before Hopkins plated Calahan by lacing a double into the left centerfield gap to give the Lady Bulldogs the 5-4 victory.