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Winder softball pulls off rally win in home opener

POSTED: August 13, 2014 10:23 a.m.

Winder-Barrow’s women’s softball team erupted for five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning Monday at Spratlin Field, capped by a three-run home run by freshman Jikayla Sullivan, and went on to defeat visiting Jefferson 8-4 in the season-opener for both schools.

Freshman pitcher Alexis Berry had relieved Lady Bulldoggs starting pitcher Cathleen Nugue with two runners on base and no outs in the top of the fifth.

She yielded a three-run homer to Jefferson’s Olivia Husted on the second pitch she threw to tie the score at 3-3 at the time.

Husted doubled home the go-ahead run an inning later to give the Lady Dragons a 4-3 lead, but the Lady Doggs’ big sixth-inning outburst made Berry the winning pitcher in her first varsity game.

Berry, who was the main pitcher for the W-B junior varsity last season as an eighth-grader, allowed four hits and two runs in three innings of work, walking no one and striking out three, including the last two batters of the game.

Nugue, a sophomore who was a starting pitcher and shortstop for the varsity team last season, allowed seven hits and a walk and struck out three in her four innings of work.

"We were going to pitch both of them anyway," Winder-Barrow head coach Monty McClure said after the game. "In fact, we were going to put Alexis in to start the fifth, but Cathleen wanted to go back in to start the inning.

"I was pretty pleased with the way we played overall," McClure said. "It’s a non-region game, so we were intending to play everyone and move some folks around."

Both teams had 11 hits in the game, with senior catcher Carlee Thurmond the only Lady Dogg with multiple hits.

MacKenzie McFarland, Megan Garrett, Nugue, Sullivan, Ansley Johnson, Haley Evans, T.K. Sauls, Elora Clark and Krista Thomason each had one hit apiece for Winder-Barrow.

Starting leftfielder Emily Ferguson walked in each of her three plate appearances, stole one base and sang the national anthem prior to the game.

In the preliminary game, Jefferson’s JV team beat Winder-Barrow 6-2, scoring four runs in the fourth inning against relief pitcher Rose Johnson, who had two of the Lady Doggs’ five hits.

W-B starting pitcher Rachel McCain allowed only one hit and one walk in her three innings of work.

Winder-Barrow’s varsity, which will not play at home again until Aug. 26, was to have opened tournament play at Flowery Branch Wednesday with games against Class AAAAAA Mountain View and Dacula.

The Lady Doggs are scheduled to play again Friday at 8 p.m. against First Presbyterian Day, again at the Flowery Branch field.

On Saturday, Winder-Barrow will play two more Class AAAAAA schools at North Gwinnett in Suwanee, taking on defending state champion Collins Hill at 3 p.m. and North Gwinnett at 5 p.m.

Winder-Barrow’s varsity scored two runs in the second inning when Sauls doubled with one out in the second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored when McFarland’s liner to center field was dropped for an error.

McFarland made it all the way to third on the play and scored on another wild pitch to give the Lady Doggs a 2-0 lead.

They increased the lead to 3-0 in the fourth when Ferguson drew her third walk of the game with two outs, went to second on Thurmond’s single to left and scored on Nugue’s single up the middle.

Nugue, who had shut out the Lady Dragons through four innings, allowed singles to Erin Jackson and Arynn Baker to start the fifth and was relieved by Berry after throwing 14 pitches in the inning.

Husted hit Berry’s second pitch for a three-run homer to tie the game, and the Lady Dragons got two more runners into scoring position before Berry retired three in a row to end the inning.

Jefferson took its first lead in the sixth when Baker singled for the third time and came around to score on Husted’s deep fly-ball double to right field.

Winder-Barrow took control of the game with its big sixth inning.

Krista Thomason beat out an infield single to shortstop and came around to score on a play that started with McFarland’s infield hit.

The throw to first went into right field, but McFarland held first because the ball was too close to her.

A throw was made to third in an attempt to retire Thomason, then a wild throw toward second trying to get McFarland got away, allowing Thomason to score the tying run.

Garrett pushed a bunt toward second base and, for some reason, everybody on the Jefferson infield seemed to be going toward third to retire McFarland.

But the Lady Dragons forgot one thing—the ball, which was rolling freely toward second base, allowing McFarland to score the go-ahead run.

Thurmond drew a walk to put two runners on base and Sullivan followed one out later with her round-tripper to put the game out of reach.

Berry needed only 12 pitches to retire the Lady Dragons in order in the seventh, getting one out on a comebacker to the circle and striking out the last two batters to end the game.

 

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