David Reeder

Special to the Grove Sun

WESTVILLE- Ten stranded runners and a quartet of errors will usually come back to bite you.  Such was the case for the Oaks Lady Warriors Monday evening at Lady Yellow Jacket Field.  And an outstanding pitching performance by Oaks’s Stephni Wilson went by the wayside as Westville’s senior starter Shayla Christian overcame some shaky defense to stay close long enough and eventually double their opponents. In the top of the first, Lady Warrior leadoff batter Chynna Cooper was struck by a Christian pitch.  Cooper never slowed down around second base and hustled to third on a perfectly executed Malaurie Blackfox sacrifice bunt.  Francis Milspaugh slapped an RBI single that plated Cooper for the first run of the game.

In the bottom of the frame Westville’s Ashley Rhodes reached base on a grounder that got past the second baseman as well as the right fielder backing up the play.  But Rhodes got cut down at the plate as the throw from Blackfox was perfect to Milspaugh, who was blocking the plate. 

Following a scoreless second, Cooper led off the third with a base on balls and came in to score when the Yellow Jacket defense booted a Blackfox ground ball that rolled in to center field.  The Westville centerfielder tracked down the ball and made a perfect throw to the plate.  The throw nipped Blackfox and the potential third run.  Milspaugh followed with her second hit of the game and was left stranded again.

Leading 2-0, Wilson didn’t allow a ball out of the infield in the bottom of the third.  But in the home half of the fourth, the Oaks hurler issued a one-out walk.  Westville’s Emily Atchison lashed a single to left field that went through the fielder’s legs and rolled to the wall.  And by the time the ball made it back into the infield, the game was tied.

The Lady Warriors scratched out a run in the top of the sixth as the result of a pair of hit batsmen, a wild pitch and a dropped third strike. But the Yellow Jacket defense gunned down another runner at the plate, while Oaks left the bases loaded.

The bottom of the stanza proved to be the undoing of the Lady Warriors.  Rhodes and Kate Atchison led off with back-to-back singles.  After a walk to Emily Atchison loaded the bases, Rhodes tied things up when Oaks committed their fourth error of the game. With RBIs off of the bats of Amber Brach and Jacy Blackwood, Westville took a three-run lead with only an inning to play.  Christian pitched around another error behind her in the top of the seventh, as the Lady Warriors stranded their 10th runner of the game and the 6-3 final.