Centreville plays on in state tourney

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 28, 2007

RIDGELAND — Thanks to a timely run-scoring base hit by Erin Gaulden and the pitching of Emily Gaulden, the Centreville Academy Lady Tigers won both of their games Wednesday at the MPSA Class AA State Tournament at Freedom Ridge Park.

Now Centreville, 29-7 and the Class AA South State champion, will have its hands full when it takes on Class AA North State and defending Class AA State champion Marshall Academy Monday at 11 a.m.

“They returned all nine starters from last year,” Centreville head coach Mark Mann said. “They play good defense and they have good team speed. I think we’re ready for the challenge. I have all the confidence in the world that we can get the job done.”

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The winner of that game will advance to the championship game at 2 p.m. and will be one of two teams that will advance to the overall state tournament.

In its first game of the day, which started at 9 a.m., Centreville jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and then had to hold off a late rally to defeat the Winston Academy Lady Patriots 6-5.

“We jumped out 5-0 and it seemed like we kind of relaxed a little bit,” Mann said.

The Lady Tigers took a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning when Amber Addington walked, stole second, stole third and scored on a single by Erin Gaulden. That one run proved to be huge as the Lady Patriots tried to tie the game in the top of the seventh.

With two outs, Winston Academy hit back-to-back singles and Centreville committed its third error of the game that brought in a run to make the score 6-4. A fielder’s choice brought in the Lady Patriots’ second run of that inning to cut the lead to 6-5. But Emily Gaulden got the next batter out to end the game and advance in the winners’ bracket.

Centreville scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning and after scoring a run each in the bottom of the second and third innings, it appeared like the Lady Tigers were well on their way to the second round.

That was until Winston Academy got back in the game with three runs in the top of the fourth.

“She (Emily Gaulden) walked the first batter, gave up a single, and then we made a couple of errors,” Mann said. “And then they had back-to-back singles.”

Emily Gaulden struck out six batters and walked two in picking up the win on the mound. She also went 4-for-4 with a double and Amber Brown went 2-for-4 with a double.

Centreville’s second game of the day was another classic between the Lady Tigers and the Columbia Academy Lady Cougars. It was also another pitchers’ dual between Emily Gaulden and Alyssa Boutwell.

The game ended up going eight innings with the Lady Tigers taking a 1-0 win. Kristen Lee, pinch running for Katie Vine, started at second as per the international tiebreaker rule. Emily Vine sacrifice bunted Lee to third and pinch-hitter Haley Mann singled up the middle to bring in Lee for the game-winning run.

Gaulden struck out five and the defense behind her made several big plays to shut out the Lady Cougars.

“We played the defense we’ve played all year behind her,” Mann said. “The outfield made two or three exceptional catches. It was a total defensive effort.”

Centreville had several chances to put runs on the board against Boutwell that would have kept the game from going into extra innings. The Lady Tigers even had the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh with just one out, but Boutwell struck out the next two batters to keep the score at 0-0.