April 30, 2008 Edition

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Lady Screamin' Eagles season
ends in second round of districts

Debbie Richey
Staff Writer

The Hillcrest Lady Screamin' Eagles softball season ended Saturday with a 4-3 loss to the Midland Lady Mustangs in the second round of the district tournament at Judsonia.

The Lady Mustangs struck first when Raigan Skidmore, Midland's All-State catcher, scored following two Hillcrest errors. Midland returned the kindness in the top of the third inning. Hillcrest's Elaina Pankey walked, advanced to third on two wild pitches and scored on an error by Midland's pitcher to tie the game 1-1.

Hillcrest took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth when Whitney Jones scored after Midland's pitcher walked four batters in the inning.

Midland tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth inning, after a walk, a stolen base and a base hit.

Hillcrest went ahead 3-2 in the eighth inning when Lauren Pickle scored on a ball hit by Jones. Midland tied the game again in the bottom of the inning after a sacrifice bunt and hit to centerfield.

Midland won the game with a run in the ninth inning. With two out and runners in scoring position, the final hit got between the third baseman and shortstop, allowing the winning run to score.

"We put our best defense on the field, because we knew they didn't strike out often," said Hillcrest coach Shawn Rose. "We made two errors on 25 balls they put in play."

"The other storyline was that we just didn't get it done at the plate. We failed to execute a lot of bunts, and struck out 19 times. We left the bases loaded three times and scored only one run when we had them loaded," said Rose.

Samantha Blevins pitched all eight and two-thirds innings for Hillcrest

Offensively for the Lady Eagles, Miranda Doyle had an RBI and a stolen base. Terra Polston had a hit, and Pickle had a hit and scored a run. Jones had a hit, an RBI and scored a run, and Pankey scored a run.

"Thanks to all who traveled to Judsonia on Saturday to support us. We were all disappointed in losing that last game. However, it was a fun game to coach, play and watch. It was probably the most intense game we have been a part of," added Rose.

Quitman

Earlier in the tournament, Hillcrest defeated Quitman 6-5.

The Lady Eagles scored in the bottom of the first when Doyle led off with an infield hit and Polston reached first after being hit by a pitch. Jessica Broadway singled to center, scoring Doyle. Jones and Natalie Johnson followed with singles to score Polston and Broadway, giving Hillcrest a 3-0 lead.

Quitman scored single runs in the second, third and fourth innings to tie the game 3-3.

Hillcrest regained the lead with two runs in the sixth inning. Doyle walked, stole second and was driven in by Broadway's second hit of the game. After Broadway stole second. Pickle's grounder to third was misplayed, allowing Broadway to score.

The lead would not last long, as Quitman tied the game 5-5 with two runs in the top of the seventh inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, Johnson's lead-off grounder was booted. Stevie Howard and Pankey were each walked, loading the bases. Blevins then hit a sharp grounder up the middle that was fielded by the shortstop. The throw was not in time at home as Johnson scored the winning run.

Blevins picked up the win, pitching seven innings giving up five runs on seven hits, while walking five and recording a season-high seven strikeouts.

Broadway batted 2-for-4, with two RBIs and two stolen bases. Jones went 2-for-4, with a RBI. Johnson had a hit, an RBI and stole three bases. Doyle scored two runs and stole two bases. Polston had a hit, scored a run and had a stolen base. Johnson scored a run, had an RBI and a stolen base. Blevins had a hit, an RBI and a stolen base.

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