Columbia Academy outlasts Lady Bulldogs

Friday, May 11, 2012
Cornersville shortstop Makenzie Hopkins throws out Columbia Academy's Shelby Cummins at first base in the bottom of the first inning. Photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

The Cornersville Lady Bulldogs (11-11) turned in a valiant effort, but saw their season come to an end on Wednesday night when they suffered a heartbreaking 12-11 defeat in 10 innings to Columbia Academy (19-14) in the losers bracket finals of the District 11-A tournament at Mt. Pleasant High School.

After watching the lead change hands three times through the first six innings of play, the Lady Bulldogs held a 10-8 advantage heading into the bottom of the seventh before CA scored two runs in the frame to knot the game at 10-10.

With international tiebreaker rules in effect, Cornersville tallied a run in the top of the 10th inning to seize a 11-10 lead, but Columbia Academy crossed home plate twice in the bottom half of the frame with the help of three CHS errors to escape with the victory.

Cornersville's Makayla Campbell slides safely into home plate while scoring on a RBI single by Taylor Wolaver in the top of the first inning against Columbia Academy.

"I'm proud of the way the girls fought. They gutted it out all night and gave CA all they wanted," said Cornersville coach Eric Crabtree. "We played hard the entire tournament and left it all on the field tonight."

Having scored 39 runs in their four previous playoff games, the Lady Bulldogs continued their postseason offensive surge on Wednesday and pounded out 13 hits against Columbia Academy starting pitcher Shelby Cummins.

Leadoff hitter Makayla Campbell led Cornersville at the plate by going 4-for-5 with a walk, 1 RBI, and two runs scored. Carson Coble also tallied three hits and 2 RBI, while seniors Makenzie Hopkins and Brittney Crowell each notched two hits with Hopkins recording an inside the park homerun and 4 RBI. Starting hurler Taylor Wolaver (1 RBI) and Ashley Beard each had one hit for CHS as well.

"We're going to have a hard time replacing our two seniors. They're both good players and showed a lot of leadership this season so they left some big shoes to fill," said Crabtree.

Pitching her third game in three days, Wolaver went the distance in the circle for the Lady Bulldogs and suffered the loss after allowing 13 hits and six walks over nine and one-third innings. Cornersville also made Wolaver's task tougher by committing seven errors.

The Lady Bulldogs got off to a promising starting and plated three runs in the top of the first inning on the strength of a single and a stolen base from Campbell, a pair of RBI singles by Wolaver and Hopkins, and a passed ball to grab a 3-0 lead.

After notching two runs in the bottom of the second inning to trim the deficit to 3-2, Columbia Academy crossed home plate four times in the third with the aid of two walks, a Cristin Jones single, a RBI single by Sabrina Gilliam, an error, and a Caitlyn Carter two-run triple to pull ahead 6-3.

Despite seeing CA turn a 7-5-4 double play in the top of the fifth, Cornersville still had runners at first and second with two outs when Hopkins rounded the bases on an inside the park homerun to tie the game at 6-6 after ripping a line drive into centerfield that bounced over the head of Columbia Academy's Jordan Ellerby.

Columbia Academy tallied two runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 8-6 lead, but the Lady Bulldogs pushed across four runs in the top of the sixth behind a Crowell single, two CA errors, a two-run double by Coble, and a Campbell RBI single to seize a 10-8 advantage.

After going down in order in the bottom of the sixth, Columbia Academy tied the game at 10-10 in the seventh on a two-run double by Sydney Sproul.

Following two scoreless innings of action, CHS' Kelsey Wortham was stationed at second base to start the top of the 10th. Wortham then advanced to third on a bunt single by Campbell before scoring on a MandiLynn Calahan RBI sacrifice bunt to give Lady Bulldogs an 11-10 lead.

Cornersville, though, was unable to hold on in the bottom of the 10th, as Columbia Academy plated two runs in the frame to claim the 12-11 victory after CHS dropped two throws in the infield and misplayed a fly ball in the outfield.