Latexo Clipped by Joaquin 2-3, 3-2, 9-1 

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

JACKSONVILLE – The Latexo Lady Tigers and Joaquin Lady Rams squared off in a best-of-three series for the Bi-District championship on April 27 and 28.

The Lady Tigers fell in game one by a score of 3-2, won game two by the same score, 3-2, and then stumbled in game three by a final of 9-1.

Game one started in promising fashion for the Lady Tigers as they plated two runs in the top of the first. Gracie Zalesky and Bailey Ingle opened the game with back-to-back singles, followed by a Makayla Gunnels double which drove in Zalesky and moved Ingle to third.

After Joaquin pitcher Chloee Mason struck Dianna Maza and Shelby Abshire, Raelyn Walker came through with a base rap which drove in Ingle and made the score 2-0.

When the Lady Rams came to bat in the bottom of the inning, they tied things up at two. Zalesky was in the pitcher’s circle for Latexo and she walked the first batter she faced, Joaquin’s Ebbie McCann.

Zalesky followed up the walk with a strikeout of Lanie Stanley and a walk to Kennedy Stanley. She then struck out Molly Mason for the second out, but back-to-back errors on the Lady Tigers allowed the Lady Rams to tie the game as McCann and K. Stanley crossed the plate.

That was all the offense until the bottom of the fifth inning. L. Stanley led-off the inning and grounded into a 1-3 force. K. Stanley followed and roped a shot into left for a single. After Zalesky struck out M. Mason, K. Stanley stole second.

C. Mason was up next and hit a line drive to center which drove in K. Stanley with the go-ahead run and later turned into the winning run as Joaquin held on to take game one by a score of 3-2.

In game two of the series, Zalesky and C. Mason squared off again. This time the win went to Zalesky, in extra innings.

The Lady Rams decided to play “small ball” to open the game and the decision paid off as they scored two runs before the first out. After that, Zalesky took over the game and held Joaquin scoreless for the next seven innings.

C. Mason was equally as tough. She shut down the Lady Tigers in the first inning on 12 pitches but gave up a solo HR to Raelyn Walker to open the second inning.

The score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the sixth when the Lady Tigers tied things up. Walker singled up the middle to start the inning for Latexo and moved to second when Abshire reached on an error. Maza followed Abshire in the batter’s box and roped a double into the left centerfield gap that drove in Walker with the tying run.

After a quiet seventh inning, the game moved into the eighth. Zalesky struck out M. Mason to open the inning and then popped up C. Mason for two quick outs.

Following an error that allowed Kalie Brooks to reach first, Brooks was gunned down on a steal attempt as Angeleah Benton threw a rocket to second to catch the Joaquin baserunner and end the inning.

The game was Latexo’s for the taking when they came to bat in the bottom of the eighth. Abshire led off with a single to right and took second when Maza grounded out. Carmen Page was next in the batting order and she popped up.

The ball was misjudged, however, and Page reached first safely while Abshire scooted over to third. Harli Brent followed Page in the order and on a 2-0 pitch, Brent singled up the middle to drive in Abshire with the game winning run as the Lady Tigers evened the series, 1-1.

Game three, however, went to Joaquin as they used a five-run, third inning to pull away from Latexo and coast to a 9-1 series clinching win.

The game started off with the Lady Rams scoring two runs in the top of the first to take a 2-0 lead. Latexo cut the lead in half, however, when Zalesky led off the bottom half of the inning with a solo HR.

That was as close as the Lady Tigers would get however, as Joaquin plated five runs in the top of the third to take a 7-1 lead and then tacked on a run in the fourth and fifth innings to pull away for the 9-1 win.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.