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Lyons strikes out 16 in Lady Flashes’ playoff victory

[4/18/03]Laura Beth Lyons was one spectacular catch away from a no-hitter, and a few pitches away from a perfect game.

In another words, it was just another average day in the circle for the St. Aloysius ace.

Lyons didn’t allow a ball out of the infield, struck out 16 batters, and gave up only an infield single and one walk as the Lady Flashes moved within one win of a return trip to the Class 1A-2A South State finals by beating Bogue Chitto 4-0.

“Laura Beth threw one of the best games she’s thrown all year,” St. Al coach Gene Rogillio said. “She was throwing heat. When she gets in her groove, she’s hard to beat.”

Lyons also went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored for St. Al (16-3), while Sarah Kerut was 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored, and senior Kelly Haden was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI singles.

Bogue Chitto came into the game with a 17-1 record, but were helpless against Lyons.

Jessica Melton had the only hit for Bogue Chitto (17-2), on a soft liner up the middle. Kerut, St. Al’s shortstop, dove for the ball but missed it as it bounced in front of the second base bag and over her glove.

The Lady Flashes then got all the run support Lyons needed in the bottom of the first. Lyons led off the game with a double, advanced to third on Kerut’s sacrifice bunt, and scored on a throwing error.

Haden made it 2-0 with an RBI single in the third inning, and Kerut and Haden each had RBI singles in the fifth as St. Al put the game out of reach.

Coming into the game, Rogillio saw Bogue Chitto’s impressive record and was a bit worried. After handling the Lady Bobcats in game one, though, he was much more confident about St. Al’s chances of advancing to the South State finals for the second straight season.

If St. Al can win one of two games in a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Bogue Chitto, it will likely earn a rematch with No. 7 Clarkdale. The Lady Bulldogs swept St. Al for the South State championship last season and went on to win the Class 1A-2A title, although St. Al did squander a 9-2 lead in game two of that series.

“I think it gives us confidence,” Rogillio said of the game one win over Bogue Chitto. “If we can play at this level we should make it to South State, then we’ll see what happens when we get there.”