Debs win in extra-innings battle
PINEVILLE, La. — It took more than two and a half hours and nine grueling innings to determine the outcome of Saturday’s first-round game between the Ferriday Gators and the Pineville All-Stars at the Louisiana Dixie Debs State Tournament.
In the end, Ferriday survived the heat, withstood the home-field advantage that Pineville thought it had and got some unexpected help in the final two innings in a 15-12 win advance to the next round of this double-elimination tournament.
The Pineville All-Stars had two golden opportunities to win the ball game in extra innings. First, they had runners on second and third with two outs and the game tied at 12-12 in the bottom of the eighth inning. That’s when Kennedy Beard, who went 2-for-5 at the plate, literally saved the game for Ferriday with her glove.
“She made the most outstanding catch I’ve ever seen. That girl (for Pineville) hit a shot. I didn’t think she would get to it,” Ferriday Gators head coach Rut Horne said. “She dove to the right and caught the ball right above the edge of the grass.”
Then, after Ferriday scored three runs in the top of the ninth to take a 15-12 lead, Pineville had a chance to at least extend the game as it had the bases loaded and two outs. But a fortuitous bounce on a ground ball that was headed to the Ferriday shortstop went against the host team.
“It was not without fanfare,” Horne said. “The runner going from second to third hit the ball for the final out. It was a very exciting game that could have gone either way. We were fortunate to win it.”
The first four meetings between these two teams gave no indication this game would be a high-scoring battle. The scores of those games — 3-2, 2-0, 2-2 and 3-3.
“I figured it would be a low-scoring game. First inning we jumped out to a 4-0 lead. We had them 9-3 and they ended up tying it and taking the lead,” Horne said. “Our girls hit, too. We had 19 hits. They had 16 hits.”
Mollie Devening ended up being the winning pitcher. She got the start and pitched the first four innings and then came back in to pitch the bottom of the ninth. She gave up seven runs, only three earned, on 10 hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Laura Perilloux went three innings and allowed three runs, one earned, on four hits and two walks. Ellen Bairnsfather pitched one inning and gave up two runs on two hits and one walk to go with one strikeout.
Kimble Devening went 3-for-4 with a triple. Jody Duncan had two doubles and went 2-for-5. Mollie Devening was 3-for-6 with a double. Bairnsfather and Ginny Daggett each went 3-for-6. Marty Lewis also went 3-for-6.
“We put Marty in the leadoff spot. That was a good move for us,” Horne said. “The girls hit all the way through the lineup. Our big sticks typically hit it. Every time they would score, we would take the lead.”
Next up for the Ferriday Gators is the winner of the Jefferson Parish/Madisonville game at 1 p.m. today.
JPRD Eastbank 14, Ferriday Dixie Belles 2 (5 innings)
MARRERO, La. — The first day of the Louisiana Dixie Belles State Tournament was not a good one for the Ferriday Dixie Belles as they lost to Jefferson Parish Recreational Department Eastbank 14-2 in five innings Saturday morning.
Ferriday had a rough time both on the mound and in the field. Starting pitcher Jania Burns took the loss after allowing four runs on three hits and six walks with two strikeouts in two innings. Bailey Book came on in relief and gave up 10 runs on six hits and six walks to go with a pair of strikeouts.
“Our pitching was not on at all. We just made a lot of defensive errors. The girls were tense the first couple of innings,” Ferriday Dixie Belles head coach Jeanie Beach said. “We made defensive error after defensive error.”
There were a couple of bright spots at the plate for Ferriday. Brianna Henson went 2-for-3 with a double and Emilee Waltman was 1-for-2 with a double. Leah Havard and Darby Beach also had a base hit.
“It’s a lot more competitive. Playing these teams, it’s going to make us better down the road,” coach Beach said. “We’re going to try to play like we’ve played all year.”
The Ferriday Dixie Belles will take on the loser of the Pine Prairie/Madisonville game at 9 a.m. today. Beach said her team will play much better than it did against JPRD Eastbank.
“They need to play more relaxed and have fun,” Beach said.