Long layoff doesn’t affect Lady Tigers

MANTACHIE – After a two-week layoff, would the Hatley softball team show any rust in its second-round Class 2A playoff series against Mantachie?
Not much, as the Lady Tigers swept both games 3-0 and 5-1.
“We looked flat and we weren’t doing the small things right, there at the beginning,” said Hatley head coach Chris George, “but we put it together and came through with the victory.”
The Lady Tigers advanced to the second round due to a forfeit by H.W. Byers, and their last regular-season game was rained out.
The next time Hatley (18-3) plays won’t be nearly as long of a wait, as the Lady Tigers will Ackerman, which swept Bruce on Saturday, in a third-round series beginning Thursday.
The Lady Mustangs, who have finished first in Division 1-2A the past four seasons, ended their season at 17-7-1 after being eliminated from the playoffs by Hatley for the second year in a row.
Mantachie head coach Bryan Loague was unavailable for comment after Saturday’s games.
“They’re a good team,” said Mantachie assistant coach Noah Hamilton. “We didn’t hit the ball at all. We played defense really well, but we just didn’t get the timely hit.”
Credit Hatley pitcher Lesley Hudson for shutting down the Lady Mustangs’ offense.
The freshman pitched all 14 innings on Saturday, allowing only one run, 10 hits and three walks in the two games. She struck out 11 on the afternoon.

Crediting her defense
“I was worn out by the second game,” Hudson said. “You could tell by the second game I was barely pushing through.
“But without my defense it would have been awful. The defense, they carried us through this round.”
Hudson also led her team at the plate with four hits on the day, including a two-run single in the fifth inning of the second game.
Hudson’s first hit of the game broke up a no-hitter Lexie Williams had going through the first three innings of Game 1. Unfortunately for Williams (5-4-1), she didn’t have the run support that Hudson had and suffered the loss.
“We had a couple of innings in the first game that we could have broken it open and we didn’t get the hit we needed,” Hamilton said. “We scored one run in 14 innings, we haven’t done that all year.
“We haven’t been shut out all year until today. So, they did a great job.
“They’re pitcher moved the ball around and we just didn’t hit it.”
Kellsey Wilson had three hits for Hatley. while Callie Lindsay also had three for Mantachie.
Taylor Barber (7-2), who had two hits in Game 2, suffered the loss in the second game.

John Wilbert/Daily Journal

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