Clutch hits keep Boone, D-B alive in District 1 softball

Dave Ongie • May 5, 2009 at 12:00 AM

JONESBOROUGH — Daniel Boone used a big hit to atone for a multitude of errors while Dobyns-Bennett used a big hit to make sure Science Hill paid dearly for its defensive miscues in the District 1-AAA softball tournament.

The fourth-seeded Lady Trailblazers got a three-run homer from Jessica Hicks to come from behind and beat top-seeded Volunteer 7-5 on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the second-seeded Lady Indians got a double by Makenzie Lilley to plate a pair of unearned runs that proved to be the difference in their 4-2 victory over No. 3 Science Hill.

Daniel Boone will face off against D-B tonight at 7 o’clock in the winner’s bracket final while Volunteer and Science Hill will face elimination in the loser’s bracket contest at 5.

Boone built a 3-0 lead early against Volunteer before the wheels came off in the bottom of the second inning. The Lady Trailblazers committed three errors in the frame, allowing four unearned runs to cross the plate.

Boone coach Rick Wagner said he doesn’t use his team’s inexperience as an excuse when the Lady ’Blazers lose, but youth almost cost Boone against a senior-laden Volunteer team.

“That inning, it about got us,” he said. “I don’t know if I would have bet on us in the fourth or fifth inning when we got behind.”

It took a couple of innings for the Lady Trailblazers to get their swagger back. In that time, pitcher Cora Baker single-handedly kept her team in the game.

Baker retired seven batters in a row until her teammates got back into the swing of things.

“She picked it up a little bit, which gave us some time to finish our pouting,” Wagner said. “We about dug a hole we couldn’t get out of.”

Trailing 5-3 in the top of the sixth, Hicks came to the plate with a pair of runners on and changed the course of the game with a single swing.

She connected on a Tatum Spears offering, knocking it over the right-field fence to give Boone a 6-5 lead. The Lady Trailblazers tacked on another run in the seventh and Baker closed out the Lady Falcons in the bottom of the frame to preserve the win.

“We about didn’t fight out of it,” Wagner said. “But Jessica’s our only senior, and she came up big with that hit.”

Baker (17-7) scattered four hits, surrendering one earned run in seven innings of work. Spears (13-6) gave up seven earned runs on 10 hits in seven innings for Volunteer (23-12).

Jessie Wheelock went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored for Boone (23-18) while Natalie Sheffey was 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Hicks finished with three RBIs and Kellie Waycaster added a solo homer for the Lady Trailblazers.

“They got the crucial hit when they needed it and we didn’t,” Volunteer coach Jackie Strickler said. “That was the difference in the game.”

In the nightcap, D-B’s Emily Biggs and Ashley Christian reached base on a pair of Science Hill errors in the bottom of the third inning. Lilley stepped to the plate and knocked a one-out double into the gap in left-center to bring home Biggs and Christian, giving the Tribe a commanding 3-0 lead.

Lilley then went to work in the circle, holding Science Hill to two runs on five hits to earn the victory and keep her team in the winner’s bracket.

“I’m tickled to death with her effort,” D-B interim coach Andy Hubbard said. “She comes to play every day — you can’t ask for anybody any better than her.”

Lilley was 2-for-2 at the plate with three RBIs. Christian scored three runs while Samantha Lilley had two hits for the Tribe (24-9).

Wendi Young (13-7) took the loss for Science Hill despite giving up just one earned run on five hits in six innings. She also struck out eight batters.

Kendra Lingerfelt had two RBIs for Science Hill (23-11) while Cassie Elliott doubled and scored.

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