July 30, 2014 11:53:59 AM
PHEBA -- Hebron Christian School fast-pitch softball coach Cass Tapley could only smile.
Oak Hill Academy coach Nathan Ellis just shook his head.
That's the difference between winning and losing.
While neither coach was pleased with a sloppy, mistake-filled game between the Clay County Mississippi Association of Independent School rivals Tuesday night, Tapley could smile after his team's 11-9 victory.
"All you can say is we won," Tapley said. "It wasn't pretty, but we got the win."
The Lady Eagles won their season debut against the Lady Raiders (0-3) in a game that saw the teams combine for 14 walks, nine hit batters, and 15 wild pitches.
That ultimately proved to be the difference for Hebron, which broke a 9-9 tie in the bottom of the fourth inning when Victoria Ferguson and Jana White each walked and later scored on a wild pitch. Hebron Christian starter Brooke Griffin earned the win, while Paige Buchanan took the loss.
"We battle, we battle, we battle, and we just came up short," Ellis said. "I really don't even know what to say. We're fighting so hard, it's going to happen."
The offenses combined for seven hits, four by Oak Hill Academy and three by Hebron Christian.
The Lady Eagles struck early, pushing across two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Rebekah Falkner walked and scored on a single by Holly Hudson, who then scored on a single by Ferguson to stake Hebron Christian to the 2-0 lead.
Trailing 2-0 in the third, Oak Hill Academy took advantage of pitching mistakes to score six runs. Anna Katherine Childress and Mary Campbell Gray each singled to open the frame and scored on a two-run double by Buchanan. Buchanan, Peyton Teffeteller, Mikka Davis, and Beth King walked scored on wild pitches to give Oak Hill Academy a 6-2 lead.
Hebron Christian answered with a seven-run third, scoring all seven on one hit, an RBI single by Hudson. Oak Hill Academy issued six walks and five wild pitches in the inning.
"We just have to find the mitt," Ellis said.
Oak Hill Academy scored twice in the top of the fourth to set up Hebron Christian's game-winning rally in the bottom of the inning.
"We can hit and we can field," Tapley said. "Those are two bright spots. We just have to pitch it better, and we will. We will get better."
Tanner Grubbs also had a second-inning double for Oak Hill Academy. Hudson's two singles led Hebron Christian.
n Marshall Academy 5, Heritage Academy 0; Heritage Academy 14, Kirk Academy 6: At Columbus, the Lady Patriots (2-1) split a home doubleheader on their second day of the season.
In the opener, Kaitlyn Hocutt had a triple and Kaitlyn Oswalt and McKenzie Bumgarner each had singles. Oswalt pitched six innings and allowed five runs (four earned), seven hits, and one walk. She struck out eight.
In the second game, Oswalt had two hits, including a double, and three RBIs. She also earned the victory, going five innings and allowing all six runs. She gave up six hits and two walks. She struck out eight.
Heritage Academy had five hits and capitalized on 14 walks. Macy Walters had a double and an RBI, and Tyler Rhett had two hits and two RBIs. Hocutt, Hayley Martin, Carley Martin, and Blair Madison had RBIs.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brandon Walker on Twitter @BWonStateBeat