Tigers have a little ‘Moore’ than Seahawks|Squeeze past Southside to win Sectional title

Published 7:49 pm Saturday, May 29, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
Sports Writer
CHOCOWINITY — With the impending merger with Jamesville right around the corner, soon there will be a time that Williamston softball no longer exists. However, Friday would not be that day.
The Tigers managed to buy themselves a few more squares on the calender to sport the yellow and green as they were able top Southside 4-2 in the Sectional Round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs.
The win catapults Williamston into the state tournament held at Walnut Creek in Raleigh, where the final four softball squads still left standing will clash for the 1-A title.
Williamston will be joined by fellow East sectional winner Midway (19-6), who beat NCSSM 2-0.
Knowing that the Tigers will not be around next season, Williamston coach Damon Hayes struggled to describe how much Friday’s victory meant to him and the team.
“I don’t even know how to put it in words,” Hayes said. “With us consolidating next year, I’m just so proud of these girls and I hope we can go out there and represent the community and our school in a good way.”
The second-seeded Tigers (18-7) played as close to a perfect game as possible against their Four Rivers Conference foes as they came up with huge plays on both sides of the diamond in their seven-inning showdown with the top-ranked Seahawks (19-5), a team that beat them twice during the regular season.
“It was really a collective win,” Hayes said. “We were playing defense, we stayed level-headed and we just had some big hits. … I just can’t say enough about our girls’ effort tonight.”
Out of all the big hits, the two biggest were supplied by ultra-talented freshman Dasia Moore and senior slugger Cassie Harrell.
Harrell stepped up first and knocked a game-tying, RBI triple in the fifth, while Moore put the finishing touches on the game in the sixth.
Locked in a 2-2 tie with two outs two runners on base, Moore battled Southside’s freshman star pitcher Savannah Mumford to a 3-2 count. After driving three long foul balls, Moore straightened one out and blasted a Mumford pitch deep over the center fielder’s head to bring home pinch runners Karly Stevens and Jessie Ann Rogers to take a 4-2 lead.
Stevens was running in place of Kelly Drew who reached on an error, while Rogers took the place of Rachel Baker, who was 3-for-3 on the day.
Not giving up on the play, Southside quickly relayed the ball to home and gunned down Moore a few feet away from home plate as Seahawks’ catcher Shakeria Lomax made a great tag on Moore up the third base line for the final out of the inning.
“Dasia is such a weapon,” Hayes said. “She can hit with power and she can run. You never know if she is going to drop one down or hit it.”
After the game Southside coach John Lohman took the heat for Moore’s big hit and said that if he could do it again he would have changed his strategy.
“That last big hit was my probably more my fault,” Lohman said in defense of his pitcher. “I was trying to call stuff off the plate. I probably should have just called time and walked her.”
With the score and momentum on her side, Williamston pitcher Harris Shepherd continued to cruise through the Seahawks’ lineup and lock down the win. Shepherd pitched all seven innings and allowed four hits while striking out three and walking two.
Mumford threw a solid game as well, as she struck out seven batters and walked one. Mumford’s most impressive moment came in the third inning when, with one out and runners on second and third, she got herself out of a jam by striking out the next two batters.
“She did a good job to come back,” Lohman said. “She dug holes for her self the first few innings and fell behind in the count a few times, and that’s trouble even for her, but she managed to fight through it.”
The Seahawks made three errors behind Mumford, one of which directly led to a run in the first inning. Southside failed to complete a Moore strikeout and could not throw her out at first base. Madison Brandon came up next and bunted, but a wild throw to first allowed Moore to score the first run of the game.
After a few scoreless innings, Southside struck back in the bottom of the fourth when cleanup hitter Valerie Ruffin hit a bomb off Shepherd way over the Tigers’ left fielder for a two-run home run to make it a 2-1 ball game.
Southside may have gotten a few more runs, but two great plays by Williamston shortstop Heather Jackson quieted a potential rally.
Jackson robbed both Sondra Sparks and Macy Paramore of line drive hits. The inning ended with another defensive gem as Moore fielded a Bailey Hobbs hit to center and threw a laser to catcher Rachel Baker who tagged out Kristen Ayers at the plate.
“During that inning we were starting to hit (Shepherd),” Lohman said. “But their shortstop made two incredible catches. If those balls go through I feel like we get that rally going and probably win the game.”
After Ruffin’s inside-the-park home run Williamston retaliated in the top of the fifth when Jackson struck a two-out single, which was followed by a Harrell rocket to right field for an RBI triple to notch the game a two a piece and set the stage for Moore’s two-run triple to win the game.
Williamston 100 012 0 — 4 7 0
Southside 000 200 0 — 2 4 3
WP: Harris Shepherd; LP: Savannah Mumford
W — Dasia Moore 1-4 (3B, 2 RBI, R), Heather Jackson 2-4 (R), Cassie Harrell 1-4 (3B, RBI), Rachel Baker 3-3 (R); Valerie Ruffin 1-3 (HR, 2 RBI), Kristen Ayers 1-2 (2B), Bailey Hobbs 1-3, Marlene Edwards 1-3.