The Lady Hilltoppers put themselves in a hole in their first inning against West Lauderdale April 15, allowing the Lady Knights to go through the batting order and rack up six runs.
Then it was time to dig in and dig out.
The Houston girls held the Lady Knights in the second with Mary Kansas Sullivan hitting Chelsea Gates from home to second to prevent a steal and Josie Anderson snagging a fly for the second out. Pitcher Madeline Burdine struck out West Lauderdale’s Jamie Cantey for the third out. In the top of the third, Taylor Lancaster made the stop at third and sent it to Quaneshia Pratt at first for two consecutive outs and Alexis McShan made the play in centerfield.
Then the Lady Toppers started chipping away on offense.
Singles from Anderson, Gates and McShan loaded the bases and Sullivan’s sac fly put the Houston girls on the scoreboard. Gates scored on a pass ball and Burdine’s sac fly sent McShan home, closing the gap to 3-6.
The Lady Toppers edged closer in the bottom of the fifth with Sullivan, Lancaster and Pratt all drawing walks to load the bases. Chelsea Robinson had been denied twice at bat but the third time was definitely the charm as she ripped a two-RBI line drive past second to put the Lady Toppers at 5-6.
Sullivan and Talaja Echoles singled in the bottom of the sixth and Burdine hit a two-RBI triple to give the Houston girls a 7-6 advantage.
The Lady Toppers clinched the win in the top of the seventh as Burdine struck out Cantey and Breanna Sharp and Sullivan recovered an off pitch and shot a rocket to Lancaster at third for the tag on Morgan Myatt.
Blanking the Feds
The Lady Toppers shut out the Lady Confederates of Caledonia April 17 romping across the scoreboard with three in the first, four in the second, two each in the third and fourth and three in the fifth to end the game.
Lancaster picked up the win on the mound and helped herself hitting two for three with a double and two RBI.
Robinson went four for four at the plate with an RBI, Burdine and Echoles had two doubles each and Gates added a double in the winning effort.
One, two or three?
The Lady Toppers have secured a playoff berth but which one is still in question. With Kosicusko and West Lauderdale scheduled to play each other Tuesday the rankings for first, second and third in division won’t be settled until the dust clears from the field.
Houston has an edge in runs with their win over Kosy but coach Jeffery Mann said the final results probably won’t be known until Wednesday with the first round to begin Thursday. Ranking determines which teams hosts or travels in Game One.