By Brandon Speck/Monoroe Journal
AMORY – It took an explosive third inning of Game 3 and a tight grip on the lead and Amory advanced to the second of the 2010 MHSAA Class 4A playoffs.
In a matchup that took nearly 51/2 hours, the Lady Panthers opened the best-of-three playoff with a 5-1 victory, lost 6-5 in nine innings in Game 2 and then won the finale 13-8.
“We’ve got to be consistent,” Amory coach Chris Pace said. “In the first game, we hit when we had to and made the defensive plays. We came out in the second game, put three up and thought it was won. That’s exactly what happened.
“We couldn’t turn that switch on. We’re not that type of team. We’ve got to hit steady the whole game.”
Bailey Oswalt’s two-run doubled started it and Amory got consecutive RBI singles from Taylor Brasfield, Harley Smith, Bailey Boyd, Ashley Camp and Halee Hunter to take a 10-2 lead in the finale.
New Albany (15-12) scored six in the fourth, three on Brooke Sides’ bases loaded triple, but that’s as close as it got.
The Lady Bulldogs forced a third game when Shannon Goode hit an inside-the-park home run with two outs in the seventh. Goode then drove in the winner in the ninth.
Amory (21-7) won Game 1 after falling behind 1-0 with two runs in the second on two-out RBI singles from Brasfield and Smith. Amory tacked on two more on two more two-out hits in the fifth from Camp and Hunter.
Amory’s sixth inning insurance run came with two outs as well, a single from Victoria Hood that scored Oswalt for a 5-1 lead.
New Albany was held to five hits by Kelcie Oswalt and a solid defense in Game 1.
“We knew the odds were against us,” New Albany coach Shane Sanderson said. “Amory is incredibly tough at home. That’s what sad about having to play two out of three (in one place).”