Fuller’s big hits lift WC to tourney title

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 24, 2003

[3/23/03]The Oak Grove, La., softball team has seen enough of Brittany Fuller.

The Warren Central outfielder and pitcher had three doubles in a 9-3 win over the Lady Tigers on Thursday, then drove in the game-winning runs in what was a tightly contested Lady Vikes Invitational final, a 9-1 Warren Central win.

“They may be a little sick of me,” a gleaming Fuller said. “It’s possible.”

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Fuller reached on a hard-shot error in the third inning as Warren Central watched Oak Grove pitcher Ashleigh Clement carry a perfect game into the third. Fuller was stranded, however, to keep the game scoreless.

Oak Grove got on the board first in the fourth.

Susan Bonnet started things with a single, then a walk and two straight fielder’s choices gave the Lady Tigers a 1-0 lead.

Then the bottom fell in on the visitors.

After stranding a runner in the fourth, Warren Central scored nine runs on only two hits and took advantage of four Oak Grove errors to put the game away.

“We let a couple of bad calls and some errors get to us,” Oak Grove coach Susan Sims said. “It shows how one inning of a game can make a difference.”

Cookie Johnson led off the inning with a walk, then stole second and moved to third when Hayley Martin reached base on an error. Candace McKay loaded the bases with no outs.

Johnson scored on a Clement wild pitch to score the first WC (10-3) run and Martin and McKay scored the next two on Fuller’s shot.

“I was so nervous, I was shaking,” Fuller said. “Coach Young and coach Yocum said to just relax, take a deep breath and it was just like practice. I sucked it up and hit it.”

Lyn Strawn added an RBI fielder’s choice for a 4-1 lead. Johnson had a two-RBI triple and Martin had an RBI groundout and Oak Grove committed two more errors in WC’s rally.

“The difference was that we were more selective on pitches,” Warren Central coach Lucy Young said. “Early on, I said one positive thing was that we were eager to hit, but weren’t very choosy on what pitches to hit. They settled down there.”

Lauren Anderson did not allow an Oak Grove (8-3-1) runner past third base after the fourth inning and finished with 10 strikeouts. She allowed five hits.

In other tournament games Saturday, St. Al (3-1) beat Richland 12-1 with Sarah Kerut taking the win.

Laura Beth Lyons scored three times and stole five bases and Candice Park had a double, scored two runs and had four RBIs. Kelly Haden also had an RBI single and stole four bases.

Vicksburg beat Cleveland in their first game of the tournament, 2-1, with Lauren Johnson getting two hits and Whitney Smith taking the win.

In the semifinals, though, the Missy Gators’ late rally fell short to Oak Grove, 4-2.

Kelsey Hudson had a triple for Vicksburg (4-6).

Warren Central reached the championship game after beating Brookhaven, 1-0, in their first game of the tournament.