RICHBURG — The momentum was clearly in the Lewisville dugout after the Lions scored twice in the bottom of the third inning to claim a one-run lead against top-ranked Dixie in the Class-A Upper State softball finals on Tuesday.
Lewisville appeared to be sailing along after recording two straight ground-ball outs in the fourth against a potent Hornets lineup. Another ground-out to pitcher Madison Vinson would have ended the inning, but the ball hit the glove and bounced behind the mound.
That allowed Haleigh Phillips to beat the throw to first. Still with two outs, Lewisville was in good shape to escape with no damage. But then, a bloop single off the bat of Samantha Ferguson fell between the second baseman and right fielder, putting two runners on base.
What happened next: a two-run double, a single, and another two-run hit, resulting in four Dixie runs, all after two outs.
All of those plays gave Dixie enough of a spark for the 9-4 victory at Lewisville.
Dixie (19-2) added four more runs in the sixth to put the contest out of reach and drop the Lions into the losers bracket in the four-team Upper State tournament. Lewisville will host Fox Creek in an elimination contest Wednesday afternoon with the winner having to travel to Dixie on Friday and needing to win twice to advance into the state finals.
Lewisville (23-6) was able to accomplish that in the early stages behind Vinson, who featured a slow-pitching style which clearly threw off the timing of the Hornets’ hitters.
“We finally was able to get our timing adjust to their pitcher,” Dixie coach Gary Stone said.
Meanwhile, the pitching-style of Ashlee Brown, the Hornets’ starter, was the complete contrast to Vinson’s.
Brown fanned nine.
None was more crucial than the bottom of the fifth. Stacie Ernandez reached on an infield single; Dee Ealey was hit by a pitch; and two batters later, Callie Murphy drew a walk to load the bases.
But with two outs and the Lions down by three, Brown retired the side with a strikeout.
Dixie capitalized on that momentum and added four more in the sixth to put the contest on ice, and rest until playing the winner of Wednesday’s elimination contest on Friday.
Lewisville will host Fox Creek at 6 p.m. The Lions captured a 5-1 victory in the Upper State playoff opener against the school.
Dixie 9, Lewisville 4
WP- Ashlee Brown; LP-Madison Vinson; Leading hitters: Dixie- Brittnay Brown 3-for-4 with double and two singles; Kensley Carwile 2-for-4 with double and triple; Ashley Brown 2-for-4 with single and double; Lewisville –Dee Ealey 2-for-3 with double and 2 RBI’s; Staci Ernandez two singles.
Records: Dixie 19-2, Lewisville 23-6.
Lewisville 5, Fox Creek 1
(late from Monday night)
WP- Madison Vinson (14-4); Leading hitters: Lewisville- Logan Miller 2-3, RBI; Staci Ernandez 3-4, 3RBI; Fox Creek- Gibson 3-3; Hall 2-3.