St. Al sweeps Ethel in first round|[04/15/07]

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 15, 2007

St. Aloysius found some last at-bat magic Saturday to sweep its first round, Class 1A fast-pitch series from Ethel at Bazinksy Park.

The Lady Tigers (10-12) were one out away from splitting the best of three series and sending it back to Ethel for a decisive third game on Monday. But the Lady Flashes (17-9) rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh to complete the two-game sweep with a 5-4 win. They won the first game 3-2 on a passed ball in the bottom of the seventh.

&#8220Our girls don’t quit,” an elated St. Al coach Gene Rogillio said.

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With the bases loaded and with two out in the bottom of the seventh, Ethel pitcher Brandy Fullilove was trying to get the final out to preserve a 4-2 lead and even the series.

That was until St. Al’s Taylor George jumped on the first pitch from Fullilove, roping a shot that caromed off Fullilove’s leg and past Ethel’s infield. Sarah Kerut and Sarah Franco both scored. Franco’s run ended the game and series.

&#8220That ball was tagged,” Rogillio said of George’s hit. &#8220With the bases-loaded and with two out, everybody’s running on that play. If it gets past the shortstop, two runs are going to score.”

George’s hit gave Kerut the pitching win. The senior will now get to enjoy a second round playoff series next week against Salem.

&#8220I wish we wouldn’t wait until the last inning, but it’s great to come through with a win,” Kerut said. &#8220The key is to get people on base so that we can put the pressure on them.”

That’s what the Lady Flashes did in both games and both times the winning run or runs came in the final at-bat.

&#8220This is the first time I felt like we lost like a softball team should,” Ethel coach Chris Terry said. &#8220It was hard-fought to the end. In our previous playoff series, we were blown out. St. Al had homefield advantage and they deserved to have it because they are a division champion.”

Unlike game one where St. Al trailed until the bottom of the sixth against Fullilove, the Lady Flashes scored twice in the first inning to grab a 2-1 lead.

Stephanie Gwin led off with a double and then scored on Kerut’s fielders choice. Franco followed with a slap bunt to score Kerut. Franco had three RBIs in the two games, all coming on a pair of bunts.

Ethel (10-12) tied the game at 2 in the second inning when Fullilove singled to left. It was the second of four hits by Fullilove in the game.

&#8220We could not get her out. Sheesh, we’d pitch her high, we’d pitch her low, it didn’t matter, she was going to hit it,” Rogillio said.

Fullilove got her third hit in the fifth to score Anna Dotson to put Ethel up 3-2. Fullilove later scored on Christi Sneed’s bunt to make it 4-2.

Fullilove finished her offensive night with a double off Kerut in the sixth but was left stranded on third.

&#8220I was really wanting to get her out in that last at bat, and then she smashes it off the fence,” Kerut said.

In the bottom of the seventh, Gwin led off by getting hit-by-a-pitch from Fullilove. She was sacrificed to second which created opening for Kerut who reached on an infield error as Gwin took third.

Sara Howington’s fly out to center scored Gwin to make it 4-3. Franco and Katie Koestler then drew two-out walks to load the bases for George.

George had two hit and two RBIs to lead St. Al. Kerut had two hits and scored twice. In the circle, Kerut struck out seven while scattering eight hits.

St. Al 3, Ethel 2

The Lady Flashes trailed 2-0 going to the bottom of the sixth and then scored three runs in their last two innings to pull out game one.

Franco was touched for two early runs and then pitched shutout ball the rest of the way. She struck out 14 and walked only one.

In the St. Al sixth, Catelyn Park reached on an error and Kerut singled to right to put two on for Franco who slapped a bunt down the first base line. Neither Fullilove or her first baseman moved on the ball.

&#8220She was just running with me and didn’t go for the ball,” Franco said.

Both Park and Kerut scored to tie the game at 2-2.

In the seventh, George led with a single to right. Sacrifice bunts by Blair Tillman and pinch-hitter K.K. DeRossette moved George to third.

Fullilove’s 1-0 pitch to Gwin got past catcher Jennifer Parker and George darted home with the winning run.

WC, Vicksburg rained out

The severe weather that ripped across Mississippi early Saturday forced the postponement of the Class 5A fast-pitch softball playoff series between Warren Central and Ocean Springs, and Vicksburg and Tupelo.

The first two games of the best-of-three series between WC and Ocean Springs will be played Monday at 1 p.m. at Warren Central. If a third game is necessary, it will be played Tuesday at Ocean Springs.

Vicksburg and Tupelo will play their series at 3 p.m. Monday at Tupelo. If a Game 3 is necessary, it will be played Tuesday at Bazinsky Park.