Lady Bulldogs stay close but drop title clash

Friday, May 13, 2016
Cornersville players who made the 11-A All-District team bottom row from left are, Carson Coble, Emma Mitchell and Hannah Singleton. Top row from left, Madison Hopkins, Miranda Cooksey, Samantha Prosser and Mikaela King. Photos by George "Pap" Warren

After defeating Mt. Pleasant 6-0 in the loser's bracket final earlier in the evening, the Cornersville Lady Bulldogs (15-8) had to settle for second place in the District 11-A tournament when they dropped a hard fought 4-2 decision in the title game to regular season champ Columbia Academy (20-6) at Culleoka High School.

Needing to defeat CA twice to claim the championship, Cornersville fell into an early 3-0 hole before battling back to slice the deficit to 3-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Held off

Columbia Academy, though, was able to keep the Lady Bulldogs at bay and tacked on an insurance run in the bottom half of the sixth prior to holding Cornersville scoreless in the seventh inning to claim their third straight district tournament title.

Despite Wednesday's setback, the Lady Bulldogs still advance to the Region 6-A tournament where they will travel to District 12-A champ Summertown Monday night.

"As the year has been going on, we've gotten stronger and stronger. Hopefully we can carry that momentum over to Monday," Cornersville coach Eric Crabtree said.

Stranded

The Lady Bulldogs recorded nine hits and a walk against Columbia Academy starting hurler Shelby Cummins, but stranded seven runners on the base paths, including five in scoring position.

"We were a little shell shocked at the start, but we came back and hit the ball. We just didn't capitalize on our opportunities," Crabtree said.

Catcher Emma Mitchell led Cornersville at the plate by going 3-for-4 with two doubles. Samantha Prosser and Mikaela King notched two hits apiece for the Lady Bulldogs as well, while Madison Hopkins (1 RBI) and Hannah Singleton both had one hit.

Making her first appearance in the circle in three weeks due to a back injury, Lady Bulldog starting pitcher Kirsten Young suffered the loss, but turned in a solid performance after shaking off some early rust. Young yielded four runs, three earned, over six innings on six hits and a walk to go along with three strikeouts.

Back in action

"She hasn't pitched in probably three weeks, but her trainer has been working with her to get her back and I thought she pitched well tonight," Crabtree said.

Corinne Shapiro paced Columbia Academy offensively by going 2-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored.

Cornersville stranded two runners on base in the top of the first inning before Columbia Academy hit the Lady Bulldogs with an early haymaker by crossing home plate three times in the bottom half of the frame with the help of a Shapiro RBI single, a sacrifice fly by Cummins, and a Baylee Thornton RBI single to seize a 3-0 lead.

The Lady Bulldogs then left runners in scoring position in the third and fifth innings before finally scratching out two runs in the top of the sixth to narrow the gap to 3-2. Prosser roped a double to left field to lead off the frame before coming home on a RBI single by Hopkins. Hopkins then scored on a King single when CA's second baseman made an errant throw to third.

Cornersville's Eric Crabtree was named District 11-A Coach of the Year.

Pulling ahead

Columbia Academy, however, took advantage of a Cornersville miscue and added an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth with the help of a Lady Bulldog error to stretch their lead to 4-2.

In the top of the seventh, Cornersville brought the tying run to the plate when Mitchell singled with one out, but their rally attempt was extinguished when Cummins struck out the next Lady Bulldog batter before Mitchell was caught stealing second to end the game.