Tigers edge Saints

Published 12:14 am Friday, August 5, 2011

Eric Shelton | The Natchez Democrat — Trinity’s Christina Givens tries to tag Centerville’s Katie Berry during their softball game Thursday afternoon at Natchez High’s softball complex.

NATCHEZ — The Centreville Academy and Trinity Episcopal softball teams turned an early season contest into a game with a playoff-like atmosphere Thursday night at the Natchez softball fields.

Centreville was able to edge Trinity by one run in extra innings, 9-8, in a game that took almost three hours to complete.

The Lady Tigers jumped on top of Trinity 5-0 after two-and-a-half innings of play. Centreville pushed one run across when Katie Berry scored in the first. The Lady Tigers then exploded for four runs on three hits in the top of the third. Ariana Bigner had the big knock in the inning with her two-run double.

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Trinity answered back with two runs in the bottom of the inning on three hits, after Bigner dominated the Lady Saints early.

“What I thought was our weakness earlier in the year on offense was our strength tonight,” Trinity coach Chris Hutchins said. “We made adjustments at the plate, and came prepared to score runs and we did that.”

Trinity kept chipping away with one run in the fourth to set up drama in the fifth inning, which would have been the last if the Saints did not tie the game.

Eighth-grader Jordan Petty led off the fifth with a single. It was Petty’s third hit on the night and she would add one more in extra innings.

Ashleigh Williams singled in Petty two batters later two make it a one-run game. Williams later scored to tie the game on a single by Mallory Lancaster. The Lady Saints had the bases loaded and one out, but were unable to push the winning run across against Centreville reliever Tori Rouse.

That pushed the game into extra innings.

The Lady Tigers pushed across four runs in the top half of the sixth with hits from Berry and Taylor Delatte, and a sacrifice fly by Renee Miley.

Trinity was only able to answer with three runs in the bottom of the inning, and fell one run short of forcing another extra frame.

Even though the contest ended in a loss, Hutchins said he sees his team getting better.

“Our girls are learning they are good, and they can be winners,” he said. “Their hard work is being rewarded, and now we have to take the next step, which is closing out games like that.”

Hutchins said his team really showed improvement at the plate against tough pitching from Bigner and Rouse.

“We hit the ball a lot better tonight than we did against Central Private,” he said. “We had a better attitude at the plate and were more aggressive. Centreville had terrific pitching. We earned the opportunity to win that game against Centreville, who is a well-coached team that’s tremendously athletic. They didn’t give us anything and we pushed them to the end.”

Petty led the Lady Saints on offense with her 4-for-4 performance. Tali Beard went 2-for-3, Ashleigh Williams went 3-for-4 and Mallory Lancaster added two hits of her own to help Trinity’s offense.

Berry, Rouse, Laramie Greer and Bigner each had two hits for the Lady Tigers.

Bigner struck out seven Trinity batters, but was touched up late in her outing and took a no decision. Rouse got the win for Centreville.