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Hebron Christian survives close call to advance to finals


Staff and Wire Report



CLEVELAND -- The Hebron Christian fast-pitch softball team''s magical run continued Saturday. 


But coach Cass Tapley and the Lady Eagles had to work through an "Oh no" moment to record one of the biggest victories in the program''s history. 


Magen Tapley''s backhanded running catch with two runners on in the seventh inning sealed Hebron Christian''s 1-0 victory against defending state champion Bayou Academy at the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools North A tournament. 


The victories mean Hebron Christian (23-9) will play Tri-County 11 a.m. Monday in the final winners'' bracket game. The winner of that game will move on the North Half title game. 


Thanks to the win against Bayou Academy and a 10-0 victory against Delta Academy earlier in the day, the Lady Eagles will be no less than a No. 3 seed next week at the state tournament. 


"We''re as good as anybody so our chances (Monday) are good," coach Tapley said. "I feel like we''re going to play well. I don''t know anything about Tri-County. We''re going to go there and compete and see what happens." 


Hebron Christian will take the field Monday coming off two of its best games of the season. The victory against Bayou Academy was the program''s first against the four-time defending state champion. 


Chloe Tapley earned the victory in the circle. She allowed three hits and struck out eight. 


Hebron Christian, which had only four hits, scored in the fourth inning on a triple by Cathryn Moore and a groundout by Magen Tapley. 


Alaina Hill, Jessica Fleming and Brittany Ousley also had hits. 


The victory wasn''t safe until Magen Tapley ranged to make a backhanded play with runners moving from second and third base. 


"It was the kind of game where if you made a bad pitch or a bad play in the field it was going to cost you a run," coach Tapley said. "If it gets down they win. If she catches it we win." 


Tapley said he didn''t know what to think when the ball came off the bat because things happened so quickly. He had just went to the mound and told Chloe Tapley, his daughter, not to give Bayou Academy''s leadoff hitter anything to hit. 


Fortunately, Magen Tapley made the play. 


"It was a pretty crisp shot," Tapley said. "My first thought was, ''Oh no.''  


"Everybody on the team had a hand in that win. They had good pitcher and we had a good pitcher and it came out our way." 


In the first game, Hebron Christian scored six runs in the first inning and tacked on four more runs in the fourth to set the stage for the 10-run mercy rule.  


Cathryn Moore''s triple was the only extra-base hit for the Lady Eagles. 


Chloe Tapley pitched all four innings, allowing one hit and one walk. She struck out nine. Fleming struck out one in her only inning.



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