TUSCALOOSA -- Lincoln High School’s softball team rallied to defeat Ashville 9-6 in the opening round of the Class 4A West Central Regional Tournament at Bowers Park in Tuscaloosa on Thursday.
Trailing the Lady Bulldogs 6-5 in the bottom of the fourth frame, the Lady Golden Bears tied the contest when Christavia Curry’s groundout to first bought Baylee Ruggs enough time to get home. Laynie Chappell scored the game-winning run on a passed ball.
“We had fun and we loosened up,” Lincoln head coach Chad Mullinax said. “It wasn’t anything we did different when we came back (from the rain delay). We just loosened up and played our ball.”
Lincoln added a run apiece in the fifth and sixth innings. Malerie Goolsby’s double drove in Haylee-Grace Mullinax. The Lady Golden Bears’ final run came on a sacrifice bunt by Kamryn Carr to score Curry.
The Lady Bulldogs throttled the Lady Golden Bears early, taking a 6-0 lead through two innings as storm clouds loomed over the park.
Lincoln took advantage of Ashville errors in the third inning to cut the deficit to 6-5 before Alabama High School Athletic Association officials stopped play for a rain delay that lasted more than six hours.
“We came off stiff early and gave up a couple errors in the field to go down 6-0,” Coach Mullinax said. “Then we finished up before the rain delay in the pouring rain. We got lucky. We were batting and not in the field. We scored five runs. We had fun and we loosened up.”
As grounds crew members worked on the field to get it ready for play after the storm, Ashville’s players appeared to take a serious approach to prep themselves for action, while Lincoln’s girls appeared to be more relaxed, dancing to “Cotton Eyed Joe,” “Macarena” and “Cupid Shuffle.”
“We were staying loose and having fun,” Mullinax said. “The girls came out here and did a little karaoke. They were (having) a dance competition. That’s all it was, just staying loose.
“We had confidence in them that they could come back and just play our ball … They play better when they’re loose.”
Morgan Allison started for the Lady Golden Bears inside the circle. Callie Smith closed out the game for Lincoln with five strikeouts through five innings.
“Callie came in and shut them down, but our defense didn’t make any errors behind her,” Mullinax said. “It helps. She came in throwing good. We had confidence in both pitchers. Morgan threw good, too. We just had errors behind her. Callie came in with a little different speed and different pitches. It worked.”
Lincoln faced White Plains in the second round late Thursday night. A final score was unavailable as of press time.
PELL CITY 8, MCADORY 0 (play suspended in bottom of the second inning)
At Bowers Parks in Tuscaloosa, the Lady Panthers needed just one turn at the plate to build a commanding lead over the Lady Yellow Jackets in a Class 6A West Central Regional tournament playoff game Thursday.
A single by Brooklyn Preuss scored Madeline Houk, and Katlyan Dulaney brought home Emily Dulaney and Preuss to put Pell City ahead 3-0.
Three consecutive Lady Panthers were hit by McAdory pitches to score Katlyan Dulaney. Pell City’s last four runs of the inning came on passed balls.
The Lady Panthers and Lady Yellow Jackets will resume play Friday at 8 a.m.