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Ashley beats West in game for first place

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By Sarah Sue Ingram, Beacon Correspondent

 WILMINGTON — Bloopers on television are funny, but West Brunswick’s softball team

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found nothing amusing about the bloopers that cost them the regular-season conference championship Thursday night, May 1.

Ashley used two bloopers to score the winning run in the bottom of the last inning

to slip past West for a 3-2 victory.

Whichever team won would tie for first place in the league’s final regular season

standings. So, the win gave Ashley a tie with Laney for first place, while the Lady

Trojans finished the regular season in third place.

West starts the conference tournament this week.

The score was tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh when Ashley’s

Eliza Holleman dropped in a blooper 10 feet behind third base.

“She’s hitting like .115 for the year,” Ashley coach Chip Adams said. “When she took

off for second, I was screaming, ‘No!’”

Holleman dived into second base safely and later went to third on a high pitch.

West pitcher Caroline Gore struck out the next two batters — one swinging and one

looking.

Then Taylor Carter, leadoff batter for the Screaming Eagles, hit another blooper in

almost the exact same place. West shortstop Abbey Dyson charged toward the ball as

soon as it came spinning off the bat, but the ball dropped in near the left-field

line and Holleman scored the winning run.

“We snuck that ball in on the foul line,” Adams said. “I thought their shortstop was

going to catch it.”

West coach Joe Nobles just shook his head afterward and said, “They get two Texas

leaguers.”

It was an inauspicious ending to a game filled with suspense.

“We played well,” Noble said. “We outplayed them in all aspects of the game.”

The Lady Trojans had only one error while the Screaming Eagles made five. Gore

struck out seven batters while winning pitcher Robin Kerr struck out two, issued the

only walk of the game and hit Gore with a pitch. She had to show the home-plate

umpire the mark on her hand where the ball hit her before he sent her to first base.

“We finally hit on a lineup from top to bottom where we’re putting the bat on the

ball,” Noble said.

The coach lamented that West left 11 runners on base but praised his players for not

giving up.

The Trojans fell behind 2-0 in the first inning when Ashley’s Carter singled down

the left-field line, Lauren Brooks reached first on an error and Jordan Floyd

launched a double to deep left field to score both runners.

West tied the score in the fifth when Haley Long reached first on a fielding error

by the Ashley shortstop and went to second on Gore’s sacrifice. Maddi Emmons reached

first and Long scored on a throwing error by the Ashley pitcher. Leilani Emile

got on base when her grounder rolled through the third baseman’s legs.

A sacrifice by Nicole Phillips brought Emmons home to knot the score at 2-2.

The bottom of West’s lineup loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth. McKenzie

Benton singled and Ariana Thomas reached first when the Ashley pitcher threw the

ball into center field. Randaisa Daniels then executed a perfect bunt, leaving the

yellow softball spinning in place just in front of home plate while she zipped down

to first.

The bases were loaded when Haley Long ripped a line drive that looked like as if

would find the gap to the left of the shortstop and score the go-ahead run. But

Ashley shortstop Floyd, who had made an error in the previous inning, redeemed

herself by leaping to her right. She didn’t catch the ball but she did knock it

down, pick it up and throw to her catcher to get the force out at home.

“She made a heck of a play,” Noble said.

“That was huge,” Adams said.

The next two West batters flied out to shallow center field, and the Trojans left

the bases loaded for the second time in the game (the third and sixth innings).

West threatened to score more than Ashley did during the game.

“We didn’t get any pressure on them from the first inning to the last inning,” Adams

said.

But they got enough runs to share the title.

“This senior class has lost only five or six conference games in four years,” Adams

said.

Ashley also won the league last year, while Laney won it two years ago, he said.

Now that the regular season has ended, West gears up for the conference and regional

playoffs.

 

W. Brunswick 000 020 0—2 6 1

Ashley 200 000 1—3 6 5

WP: Robin Kerr  LP: Caroline Gore

WB: Maddi Emmons 2-for-4, Caroline Gore 1-for-2, Nicole Phillips 1-for-3 (RBI),

Abbey Dyson 1-for-3, McKenzie Benton 1-for-4.

ASH: Taylor Carter 3-for-4 (RBI), Jordan Floyd 1-for-3 (2B, 2 RBI), Lauren Brooks

1-for-3, Eliza Holleman 1-for-3.