MONTGOMERY — David Bryant made adjustments against a tight strike zone to help Pleasant Valley rebound in the state softball tournament.
Senior McKinley Parris and eighth-grader Rylee Haynes made major alterations in the score.
Led by Parris’ two home runs and Haynes’ two-run shot, the Raiders scored 12 unanswered runs after falling behind by four in an early walkfest Thursday. They beat Opp 13-6 in a Class 3A elimination game to earn the right to play another day.
“Last year, we lost the first one, won the second one then lost the third one, and that’s not how we want to go out,” Parris said. “This year, we want to go out and be state champs.”
The Raiders (37-17) will have to win five in a row today, starting with Locust Fork at 9 a.m. Locust Fork pitcher Corrina Dodd blanked Pleasant Valley in the North Central Regional winners’ bracket final Saturday.
Plainview beat the Raiders 6-2 in the state-tourney opener for both teams. Opp got out to a 4-0 lead on them in the first two innings, thanks partly to four first-inning walks … two with the bases loaded.
The tight strike zone prompted Bryant, Pleasant Valley’s coach, to send senior Olivia Jones to the circle for freshman Leah Patterson, more of a curveball pitcher.
“The umpire really was tight, and she came in and did a fantastic job of throwing strikes and filling the strike zone up and making them put it in play,” Bryant said.
Pleasant Valley’s hitters also got a lot more patient, starting with Ava Boozer’s long at-bat in the second inning. After fouling off several pitches, she hit an RBI single to get the Raiders on the scoreboard.
“It was just a gutsy at-bat,” Bryant said.
The Raiders went on to send 12 batters to the plate and score eight runs in the bottom of the second. Lindsey Pritchett and Julianna Ballew had RBI singles, with Ballew’s tying the game.
Parris came to the plate with the bases loaded. She blasted a home run over the left-field fence to give Pleasant Valley an 8-4 lead.
“I hadn’t hit good all day,” said Parris, who added a solo shot, her 13th home run of the season, to lead off the fifth. “I just went up to bat and was wanting to do something big for the team.”
Haynes’ first varsity home run, in the third inning, added two runs for a 10-4 lead. She called the down-the-middle pitch “like meat.”
“I’ve been struggling this year a lot, and I was just trying to get a base hit,” she said. “I just didn’t think about it.”
Bryant lauded Haynes’ “terrific plays” at second base, as well, calling the victory “a good team win.”
Plainview 6, Pleasant Valley 2: Bailey Harris’ solo home run to tie the game 1-1 was the Raiders’ highlight. Mikayla Kendrick scored on a throwing error to tie the game 2-2, but Plainview broke loose with four runs in the fifth inning.