Lady Bulldogs lose in South State

Published 12:19 am Tuesday, April 15, 2008

PURVIS — Franklin County’s fast-pitch softball team made its first appearance in the MHSAA Class 3A South State Playoffs since the 2001 season.

However, the Lady Bulldogs let an opportunity to possibly get out of the first round get away from them in the first game of the best-of-three series against Division 8-3A champion Purvis last Saturday as the Lady Tornadoes rallied for a 10-9 win. Purvis won Game 2 in five innings by a score of 12-2 to sweep the series.

“The first game was a disappointing loss,” Franklin County head coach Dana Smith said. Franklin County, the Division 7-3A runner-up, didn’t get discouraged after allowing Purvis to score five runs in the bottom of the third inning. The Lady Bulldogs, as they have done throughout the season, responded with a rally of their own as they scored five runs to take a 6-5 lead.

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After the Lady Tornadoes retook the lead with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Lady Bulldogs answered with three runs in the top of the fifth inning.

Desiree Buie doubled and moved to third on a single by Morgan Knapp. Shaniquia Cameron then doubled in Buie and Knapp to tie the score at 8-8. Heather Havard then hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Cameron for a 9-8 Franklin County lead.

Buie went 2-for-4 while Kacey Smith and Kristin Oglesby led the Lady Bulldogs’ 11-hit attack by going 3-for-5 and 3-for-4, respectively.

Then the unthinkable happened in the bottom of the seventh inning — Franklin County could not hold on to its lead. After Purvis’ leadoff batter reached first after being hit by a pitch, the Lady Bulldogs’ third baseman committed three straight errors. On the third error, the ball rolled past the leftfielder, allowing the game-tying and game-winning runs to score

“To play like we played and to lose the game like that. You can’t get to that level of play and commit (those kinds) of errors,” Smith said.

Franklin County committed a staggering nine errors in the game — by far the most the Lady Bulldogs had in any one game the entire season. Losing pitcher Melissa McFarland struck out seven and gave up just three hits, but she also walked five batters.

In the second game, William Carey College commitment Nikki Sanders went 3-for-4 with a triple to lead Purvis, which scored seven runs in the bottom of the first inning to put the game away.

Carmen Thompson was credited with the win on the mound in both games for Purvis while McFarland took the loss for Franklin County, which finished with a 16-8 record.

“I’m proud of the girls. We didn’t show up when it counted the most,” Smith said. “We’ll be back next year.”