The Lady Toppers went to play and blasted the Lady Bulldogs of New Albany in Game One of their play-in round to determine which team would continue in post-season.
The Houston girls didn’t waste any time, posting 14 runs in the top of the first inning and following up with four in the second and two in the third while holding the Lady Bulldogs scoreless to wrap up a win in three innings.
“We hit the ball extremely well against New Albany,” said coach Jeffery Mann. “We have been swinging hot bats as of late.”
The Lady Bulldogs put up a much stronger fight in Game Two although the Lady Toppers gained a 4-0 lead through the second. The New Albany girls rallied in the top of the third with Aravia Foote getting a bouncer over shortstop for a single and advancing to second on a pass ball. Quinlan Amos walked on and Megan Dye loaded the bases with a single to the center field hole. Lauren Cavender ripped a line drive past shortstop for two RBI, closing the gap for the Lady Bulldogs to 4-2.
They held the Lady Toppers scoreless in the bottom of the frame, but the Houston girls came back in the fourth as Alexis McShan walked on and stole second before Mary Kansas Sullivan sent her home with a double to centerfield. Talaja Echoles had an RBI single to put the Lady Toppers ahead 6-2.
The Lady Bulldogs responded with two of there own, starting with Foote’s double and another pass ball to move her to third. Beth Barnes walked on and played off first to draw a pick off attempt scoring Foote and leaving Barnes safe on second. Quinlan Amos walked on and moved to third and home on consecutive wild pitches, putting the Lady Bulldogs at 6-4.
But that was as close as they would get. The Lady Toppers renewed their efforts in the fifth.
“Work and determination will win this one,” Mann told his players at the top of the inning and they responded in the bottom of the frame with Chelsea Robinson reaching on a pitching error and stealing second. Josie Anderson reached on another error and stole and Chelsea Gates’s single turned into a double on a fielding error, scoring Robinson. Sullivan’s sac fly plated two runs and Burdine hit a double to put runners at second and third who both scored on a pass ball for an 11-4 Houston lead.
The Lady Bulldogs rallied for two more in the top of the seventh but couldn’t overcome the deficit and the Houston girls took an 11-6 win.
Although all Monday games were postponed due to weather and Tuesday was not certain, Mann is hoping the team will keep their momentum going for round one of playoffs. The Lady Toppers will face Cleveland (15-8, 9-0) as their next opponent when the skies clear.
“I hope this continues throughout the playoffs,” Mann said. “We are a scary team when we hit like we are capable of hitting. We are going to take it one series at a time. We are focused on Cleveland now and will look to take two of three from them and keep our season alive.”