Daily photo by Michael Wetzel|
Athens' Jordynn Sweeney (5) receives some base-running strategy from first base coach Kelly Hendrix during the Lady Golden Eagles' game against Decatur in Decatur on Tuesday night. The Lady Red Raiders won 4-3 in nine innings.
Decatur gains experience,
win against Athens
By Brooke Milam
email@example.com · 340-2460
For the Athens High and Decatur softball teams, it's all about gaining experience at this point.
And when the teams faced off in a Class 5A, Area 16 game Tuesday at Decatur's Kiwanis Field, they gained the experience of an extra-inning affair with two first-year head coaches and only three seniors on the field for both teams combined.
The Lady Red Raiders won 4-3 when Amanda Tidwell drove in Lindsey Hawkins for the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The thrilling ending isn't something first-year Decatur coach Ashley Mueller would like to repeat often.
"My heart would like not to, but that experience is going to pay off in the end," Mueller said.
Decatur (21-7) has two seniors on its roster — right fielder Tidwell and left fielder Kara Couch. Athens (8-13) has only one seniors on its squad — center fielder Clara Gregory.
"I knew it was going to be a good ballgame," first-year Athens coach Carrie Loggins said. "All in all that's the way it was supposed to be. It's a tough area, and we're all pretty much young."
Eighth-grader Meg Whitten got the win for Decatur, pitching all nine innings and striking out three under pressure circumstances.
"I thought Meg did very good on the mound, and we didn't give up — that's for sure," Mueller said.
The score was tied at 1 after the first inning before Whitney Fletcher's RBI double to deep left field scored courtesy runner Me'Osha Simpson, putting Decatur ahead 2-1 in the second.
Three scoreless innings later, Athens' Erin McPherson knocked in Jordynn Sweeney to tie the game at 2.
Kayla Blake later drove in McPherson for the go-ahead run, and Athens led 3-2 in the sixth.
Decatur halted the Lady Golden Eagles' scoring with a double play turned by third baseman Jennifer Lawrence, first baseman Scarlett Wright and catcher Fletcher.
"I knew Decatur was a great team, but I know what my girls can do, too," Loggins said. "I knew it would be tough."
Decatur's Abi Lott drove in Whitten in the bottom of the sixth, tying the score
No one scored again until Tidwell's winning base hit in the bottom of the ninth.
Hawkins finished 4-for-4 for Decatur, and Tidwell contributed two singles.
Fletcher had a double, while Lott and Whitten each added a single for the Lady Red Raiders.
Junior Tiffinee Eaton tossed the complete nine innings for Athens, striking out six.
Courtney White went 2-for-3 for the Lady Golden Eagles.
Kayla Blake was 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Sweeney, Eaton and Nicole Massey each contributed one single. Eaton also drove in a run.
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