News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Priceville wins opener, Mother Nature game 2

By Bradley Handwerger
DAILY Sports Writer 340-2462

PRICEVILLE — Priceville High wanted nothing more than to finish off visiting Sylvania in a first-round Class 2A sub-state softball playoff series, avenging last year's playoff loss to the Lady Rams.

Mother Nature had other plans Tuesday.

A 45-minute downpour accompanied by flashes of lightning and crackles of thunder turned the field into an unplayable pond. That forced the suspension of play.

The series is set to resume today at 3 p.m. barring more storms and the field not drying out.

When the umpires halted play, Sylvania led 2-0 in the bottom of the second inning in the second game. Priceville took the first game 2-1 in 10 innings.

"It makes things better for us," Priceville head coach Holly Waters said. "I can rest my starting pitcher and get her back for the second game."

As much as Waters relishes her current position, Sylvania head coach Chris Hairston wishes the game could have been resumed Tuesday.

"It's a setback for us," he said. "We have four pitchers and theirs were getting tired. These extra innings were helping us. We were starting to come around."

The first game was filled with Priceville mistakes and timely hitting. The Lady Bulldogs (30-13) committed six errors that allowed Sylvania (30-10) to put runners on base consistently despite collecting only three hits.

"That was a step backwards for us," Waters said.

Because of Priceville's second error of the game, Sylvania took a 1-0 second-inning lead.

Right fielder Emily Childers misjudged a hit by Sylvania's Meghan Horton and let the ball hit off her glove. Two batters later, Bailey Reed drove Horton in with a shot over Childers' head.

That was the Lady Rams' only hit until the fifth inning as Priceville pitcher Jessica Hopper was able to keep Sylvania from catching up to her pitches. She scattered three hits in 10 innings while striking out four.

With the help of lead-off hitter Summer Boyd, none of the errors mattered in the end. Boyd tied the score in the sixth with her first career home run and finished the day 3-for-5.

Sylvania had its chances. With two outs and two on in the ninth, Hopper walked the bases loaded. Then with the count full, she unleashed a pitch that Sylvania's Tiffany Waldrop took for a called strike three.

Then, in the bottom of the 10th, Williams took full advantage of a chance to atone for a couple of earlier errors at shortstop.

With one out, Boyd singled to left. She stole second, then moved to third with a steal. Williams, the next batter, fell into an 0-2 hole, then slapped a low and inside fastball for a single deep enough to score Boyd.

"I knew I had to put the bat on the ball somehow," Williams said. "That definitely lifted my spirits for the second game."

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