Harrison rides its resilience to verge of state title
by Carlton D. White
November 03, 2013 12:57 AM | 2765 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Harrison’s Sierra Maddox takes control of the ball while colliding with catcher Abby Broome in the eighth inning of Saturday’s opening game of the Class AAAAAA championship series. After battling its way back through the losers’ bracket, the Lady Hoyas got into the winner-take-all game before the wear and tear of a grueling weekend emerged.
<BR>Gwinnett Daily Post / Brendan Sullivan
Harrison’s Sierra Maddox takes control of the ball while colliding with catcher Abby Broome in the eighth inning of Saturday’s opening game of the Class AAAAAA championship series. After battling its way back through the losers’ bracket, the Lady Hoyas got into the winner-take-all game before the wear and tear of a grueling weekend emerged.
Gwinnett Daily Post / Brendan Sullivan
COLUMBUS — After beating Collins Hill 4-2 in Game 1 of Saturday’s Class AAAAAA state championship series, Harrison fell 7-1 in the winner-take-all final.

Leading 2-1 entering the bottom of the sixth, Collins Hill (26-5) scored five runs to put the title away.

Harrison (30-9) claimed its second runner-up finish in four seasons. The last came in 2010.

“We didn’t quit in this (state finals) tournament, and we didn’t quit the whole playoffs,” Harrison coach Matt Jones said. “We had tremendous senior leadership, and the girls dug in to get to this point. That was evident all weekend, and I’m proud of the way they fought and continued to believe.

“We didn’t play Collins Hill well the first time we faced them (a 4-1 loss in the winners’ bracket), but we came back and beat them in a tough first game of this final to get here. I’m just really proud of them and for what they accomplished this year.”

Harrison scored its only run of the second game in the first inning.

After Mikenzie Vaughn and Rachel Farris led off with back-to-back singles, Sierra Maddox’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners up and Brooke Taylor’s groundout plated Vaughn for a 1-0 lead.

Collins Hill’s Aeshia Miles took over from there. Miles gave up only two more hits the rest of the way and struck out five to get the win.

Harrison’s Emily Stallings singled in the second, stole second and reached third on Kellie Carroll’s fielder’s choice, but she was thrown out trying to go home on the play and the Lady Hoyas never got a runner past first for the remainder of the game.

Collins Hill tied the score in the bottom of the first behind Calli Star’s bases-loaded walk, which plated Brea Dickey with two outs.

The Lady Eagles extended their lead to 2-1 in the fourth when Madison Palmieri’s two-out single plated Miles.

Harrison committed four errors, gave up five hits and walked two over the final three innings.

It was the Lady Hoyas’ third game of the day, after they played until 1 a.m. the previous night, after lengthy rain delays forced changes to Friday’s game times.

“The whole team was probably fatigued,” Jones said. “They fought hard with everything they had, and the games were so tight. The air just kind of finally went out of the balloon. It’s been a long couple of days.”

Bridgette Rainey gave up six runs — two earned — off six hits, pitching the first three innings as well as sixth. She also walked four and struck out four.

Emily Kachel allowed one unearned run off one hit in the fourth and fifth innings.

“Our pitchers competed for us all season,” Jones said. “They did a great job pitching for us, and we probably couldn’t have gotten this far without them.”

The first game of the championship series saw Harrison score twice in the eighth inning before holding on for the 4-2 victory.

Rachel Farris was placed on second for the international tiebreaker rule. She moved to third on Maddox’s sacrifice bunt and scored on a throwing error as Taylor reached for a bunt attempt. Farris tried to score, but Palmieri caught her trying to get back to third and threw the ball away, allowing Farris to score.

Taylor struck out before Rainey blasted a two-out home run over the left field fence for the insurance run.

Maddox kept the Lady Hoyas’ lead alive in the bottom of the eighth. She caught Tyra Holiday’s bunt attempt in foul territory, but collided with catcher Abby Broome in the process. While Maddox and Broome lay on the ground in pain at home plate, Miles — Collins Hill’s international tiebreaker runner — tried to take third.

With Vaughn covering third, Maddox, battling through the pain from the collision, had the awareness to throw out Miles, leaving the bases empty with two outs.

After Amanda Chance walked, Palmieri hit into a groundout, advancing Harrison to the winner-take-all game.

Rainey gave up a leadoff walk to Miles in the fourth to start the scoring in Game 1. Miles moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Amanda Chance’s single to center.

Harrison took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth, totaling two runs on four hits.

Broome singled through the left and reached second on Stallings’ sacrifice bunt. Kachel’s single plated courtesy runner Brooke Etheridge with the tying run before Vaughn’s two-out single scored Kachel for the 2-1 advantage.

Jaime Hoover’s home run in the bottom half of the frame knotted the contest at 2-all until the decisive eighth inning.

Harrison 5, Lassiter 4: Earlier in the morning, the Lady Hoyas rallied from a 4-2 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the fifth, clinching their place in the championship series.

Harrison sent nine batters to the plate in the fifth, totaling three runs off three hits and a two-run scoring error.

Lindsay Bruce and Vaughn hit back-to-back one out singles. Farris singled down the third base line to plate pinch-runner Carroll, who was in for Bruce.

Brianna Michaud, who replaced Lassiter starter Piper Wagner in the circle, hit Maddox to load the bases, but struck out Taylor for the second out. An error during Rainey’s at-bat plated Vaughn and Farris for the tying and go-ahead runs.

Murphy Davis, Elise Sandberg and Emily Syvarth singled in the top of the seventh, but Kachel, in for relief, induced a fly ball to leave the bases loaded and end the threat.

Sandberg’s groundout in the first plated Kelly Sinclair to give Lassiter a 1-0 lead. Maddox knotted the score with a homer in the bottom half.

Lassiter added two runs in the third. Andrea Summey led off with a walk and later scored on an error. Sinclair reached on another error and scored on Carli Kayler’s two-out single through the right side for a 3-1 advantage.

The Lady Trojans tacked on another run in the fourth. Amanda Wilson drew a leadoff walk and later scored on a two-out error during Sinclair’s single to right field for a 4-1 margin.

Harrison trimmed the deficit to 4-2 in the fourth. Farris induced a leadoff walk, moved to third on back-to-back wild pitches and scored on Taylor’s fielder’s choice.

Lassiter 2, Brookwood 1 (8 inn.): Syvarth laced a two-out single through the right side to score Davis with the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth to lift the Lady Trojans to a victory in a losers’ bracket game Saturday.

Kayler’s leadoff home run in the sixth put Lassiter in front 1-0, but Brookwood tied the game off a two-out error in the top of the seventh.

Davis was placed on second in the eighth using the international tiebreaker rule. She reached third on a throwing error before scoring on Syvarth’s hit.

Ola 2, Pope 0: Savannah McHellon’s two-strike, two-out home run in the top of the sixth proved to be the difference as the Lady Greyhounds fell an elimination game of the Class AAAAA tournament.

Kelly Barnhill struck out 14 for Pope. She issued her third walk to Morgan Bradford with two outs in the frame before allowing Ola’s only hit to McHellon.

Megan Metzinger had two of Pope’s three hits. Lindsay Monkiewicz hit a one-out single in the bottom of the sixth and reached third on a two-base error. A double play, however, ended the inning and Pope’s last scoring threat.

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