TIFTON — Home runs were the measure of the day and the deciding factor in a pair of softball games involving the ABAC Fillies and Tallahassee Community College Lady Eagles. The teams split games 4-3 and 4-2 with long balls by Lauren Thrasher and Cherise McEnery providing the big blasts.
ABAC grabbed the lead early in the first inning in the opening game. Rachel Hill allowed a single hit in the first, but kept Tallahassee from doing any damage. The Lady Eagles recorded two outs in the bottom of the first and giving up a single to Thrasher, Brittany Wright suddenly lost the strike zone. Consecutive walks were issued to former Tift County Lady Devil Karli Smith and Sunnie Sorensen to load the bases. With no room on the basepaths, Chelsea Littlejohn was issued a base on balls to score Thrasher. A grounder to short looked to end the inning, but an error allowed Hill to reach and Smith to cross the plate. A fly to right allowed Wright to finally escape after two runs were in.
The Lady Eagles failed to get on base in the second and after the nervous first inning, relieved Wright with Krysta Hoani. In the Fillies’ half of the inning, it looked again like they would go back to the dugout empty-handed, but Maiah Talmage was hit by a pitch and after taking her spot on first, proceeded to terrorize Tallahassee. She stole second and would have been stranded there after Thrasher struck out, but the ball got away from the catcher. Thrasher advanced to first and Talmage stood at third. Smith made the most of the extra chances and singled in Talmage to make the score 3-0.
The third inning saw the Lady Eagles rise to the occasion and under the familiar circumstance of two outs. A single and a pair of walks loaded the bases and the shutout was erased when Brianna Murillo’s single drove in two of them.
With all indications of a wild game after the first 2.5 innings, both pitchers settled into a groove. Baserunners became few and far between until the top of the seventh frame. Again, two were out when the damage occurred. A runner was aboard first, having reached on a walk, when with one out to go before a victory, Bianca Gutierrez doubled home a run to tie the game.
Facing extra innings, ABAC wasted little time ending the game early. Former Berrien Rebelette Bobbi Jo Royals flew out, then Thrasher strode to the plate. A minute later, the ball disappeared over the center field fence on a home run, giving the Fillies a 4-3 win.
Luck would not be on ABAC’s side in the second game when they sent Morgan Bell to the mound to square off with Ashley Dobson.
The Fillies took the lead in the second inning on a play that started as a mistake. With Smith on third and Savanna Berkhiser on first and Kimberly Jewell in the batter’s box, Berkhiser was picked off and was caught in a rundown. While the Lady Eagles tried to catch her, Smith broke for home, scoring a split-second before the tag was applied on Berkhiser, giving them a 1-0 lead.
The lead would only last a few minutes. Tallhassee scored two on a triple and a pair of errors in the third, then added two more on McEnery’s moon shot homer in the fourth.
ABAC rallied for a run when Jessica Jones singled in Littlejohn, but that would be the last threat, save for a pair of runners in the bottom of the fifth and the Lady Eagles walked away with a 4-2 victory and save the split.
The Fillies return to action Saturday to face Gordon State at Barnesville.
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