Pope sweeps its way to first fast-pitch region championship
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
October 04, 2012 12:44 AM | 3169 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pope’s Kelly Barnhill won both ends of Wednesday’s doubleheader, adding another 28 strikeouts to her growing tally, and led the Lady Greyhounds to their first region championship as a fast-pitch team.
<Br>Staff photo by Nathan Self
Pope’s Kelly Barnhill won both ends of Wednesday’s doubleheader, adding another 28 strikeouts to her growing tally, and led the Lady Greyhounds to their first region championship as a fast-pitch team.
Staff photo by Nathan Self
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MARIETTA — After beating Creekview in Wednesday’s first game of the Region 7AAAAA championship series, Pope needed extra innings to wrap up the first region championship in the history of its fast-pitch program.

The Lady Greyhounds won Game 1 5-2, then rallied for four runs in the eighth inning of the nightcap to hold off the Lady Grizzlies and win 4-1.

Pope (21-5) earned the No. 1 seed for next week’s Class AAAAA state playoffs and will host a first round series, while Creekview (19-11) will also host a first-round series as the No. 2 seed from the region.

“This is a big deal. We’ve never done this before,” said Chris Turco, who won his 100th game as coach of the Lady Greyhounds following the Game 2 victory. “Creekview is an awesome team with two really good pitchers. They’re an unbelievable team that gave us problems, and I’m sure they’ll be a problem for teams in the state tournament.

“But I’m proud of our girls for believing in themselves and really wanting this championship. We fought hard all season to be in this position, and to see it happen is unbelievable. These were very good wins against a very good team.”

Pope got eight hits off Creekview starter Madison Luck in taking the first game.

Laura Beall’s RBI groundout in the first inning gave the Lady Greyhounds a 1-0 lead, and RBI singles from Kelly Barnhill and Jenna Reilly in the second put Pope in front 3-0.

Sydney Segers, who batted 3-for-3 with two doubles and two runs scored in Game 1, led off the fourth with a double. Then, back-to-back singles from Barnhill and Ellyn Strother, followed by a RBI groundout from Laura Miller, plated Segers and pinch-runner Lauren Palace for the 5-0 lead.

Creekview’s Anna Tankersley walked to lead off the fifth and later scored on Taylor Petty’s sacrifice bunt. A leadoff walk drawn by Ashley Chumbler in the sixth eventually led to an RBI double from Casee Disharoon to pull the Lady Grizzlies within 5-2.

Barnhill, however, retired the side in the seventh to preserve the Game 1 victory.

The nightcap proved to be a pitchers’ duel between Barnhill and Creekview’s Gracie Dorr as neither team scored through the first seven innings.

As the visiting team, Pope took advantage in the top of the eighth with the tiebreaker rule applied.

Miller laid a bunt down the first-base line, but she was called safe after Disharoon dropped the ball on the tag.

The runs poured in after that as a bunt from Reilly, followed by a two-run single from Ellie Viland, an RBI bunt from Beall and an RBI sacrifice bunt from Megan Metzinger led to four straight runs for the Lady Greyhounds.

“I think being the visitors in the second game really helped us,” Turco said. “Putting four on the board is really hard for a team to come back from.”

Tiffany Jordan’s RBI single plated Annie Conrad in the bottom of the eighth, but Barnhill, who struck out 28 batters over the course of two games, induced a pop out and a strikeout to end the inning, giving Pope the region championship.

“Barnhill threw lights out (Wednesday),” Creekview coach Chance Cain said. “We struck out way too many times, and she seemed to get stronger as the day wore on. These were two competitive games. Our goal was to come in and win region, but we came up short. Now, we’re going to turn our attention to winning the first round (at state) and keep going.”
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