Cross-town battle

Published 12:14 am Wednesday, September 7, 2011

NATCHEZ — One team gathered in joy, while the other gathered crying tears of disappointment after the District 5-AA softball match up between Adams County Christian School and Trinity Episcopal Tuesday night at ACCS.

The Lady Rebels pushed across three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to top the Lady Saints 4-2, and get a leg up in the district standings.

“This is a really big win,” ACCS head coach Forrest Foster said. “We beat our cross-town rival. If we lost we were out of it.”

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The Lady Rebels fell behind 1-0 in the first after Katie Steele powered a solo home run over the left-centerfield fence to open the scoring.

Steele would also show her power on the mound early. The Lady Saints’ pitcher did not allow a hit until the fourth inning. She also struck out four ACCS batters through the first three innings.

“Trinity is a good program, and (Steele) did an excellent job tonight,” Foster said.

ACCS tied the game in the fourth with an RBI double by senior Sage Atkins that scored Braxtyn Elveston, who singled earlier in the inning.

The Lady Rebels then took the lead in the fifth with three runs that would eventually make the difference in the game.

Ashton Mason started the inning off with a double, and advanced to third on a ground out. Abby Givens then reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second base.

Then Tori Laird crushed a fly ball to deep left field and Trinity outfielder Ashleigh Williams was unable to make the catch. Givens and Mason both scored, and Laird advanced to third base, where she would later score on a pass ball to give ACCS a 4-1 lead.

“We felt like if we stayed within one or two we could beat them,” Foster said. “We’ve been hitting the ball well and seeing the ball well. We knew we’d have an inning where we scored three or four runs.”

Trinity did not go away quietly in the top of the sixth, however.

The Lady Saints loaded the bases, and then reduced the ACCS lead to two on Mary Kate Huber’s RBI-walk that scored Jordan Petty.

But with a two-run lead, and the bases loaded ACCS pitcher Brooke Runnels settled down and struck out the next two batters to end the game.

“Runnels did a real good job,” Foster said. “She said she was extremely nervous, and stayed nervous throughout the whole game. (In the last inning) I just went out and told her, ‘the runners don’t make a difference, just let them hit the ball.’”

Runnels earned the win for the Lady Rebels, while Steele took the loss.

Trinity coach Chris Hutchins said his team took the loss hard.

“(The loss) is catastrophic,” he said. “They are heart-broken. They’ve been playing together for many months, and even years. They knew how important this game was. But I’m glad to see them show emotion. It shows they care.”

The loss drops Trinity to 1-4 in the district, and they will need help to advance to the playoffs.

“Our goal is to make the playoffs every year,” Hutchins said. “This puts us in a tough spot. It’s possible (three teams) can all finish 2-4.”

The win puts ACCS at 2-3 in the district with one game remaining against Columbia Academy, Foster said.

“Hopefully we can get help from Trinity with Brookhaven, and we can beat Columbia,” he said.

Trinity will host Brookhaven Academy Tuesday, after facing Porter’s Chapel in a non-district game Monday. ACCS will play in the Copiah-Lincoln tournament this weekend before facing Silliman and Columbia next week.