lift Lady Wildcats past Wheeler
By Adam Gore/GoreSports
HOULKA - Late game heroics from Courtney Woodard and Marissa Hobson helped the Lady Wildcats advance to the third round of the Class 1A fast pitch playoffs with a 4-3 win over the Wheeler Lady Eagles on Monday.
Wheeler scored three runs in the top of the fifth to tie the game with momentum hanging in the balance and the Lady Wildcats hoping to avoid repeating the let down 12-11 nine inning let down from game one on Saturday.
The Lady Eagles put a runner in the top of the seventh, but the Macey Heair induced the next two batters to pop out before Mallory Meyers scooped up a ground ball and tossed it to Raniesha Townsend covering second to end the inning.
Courtney Woodard led off the bottom half of the inning with a triple blasted to the fence in left-center and Marissa Hobson followed with a carbon-copy walk-off single to give the Lady Wildcats a series-clinching game three victory.
"I can always depend on Courtney. She gets her head down sometimes when she doesn't hit, but she came through for us because she knew what had to be done," said Coach Vicki Homan.
Hobson went 3-for-4 from the plate with a trio of singles and drove in the game-winning run. Townsend singled, stole a pair of bases, and scored two runs. Candiace McIntosh tripled, walked, and scored a run. Woodard tripled and scored the game-winning run and Jhelesia Young added a single.
Heair, game one winner, went the distance giving up three earned runs on 10 hits while striking out three and walking two Wheeler batters.
On Saturday the Lady Cats were one out away from picking up a 10-5 win, but saw the lead quickly disappear as the Lady Eagles sparked an amazing one-out rally to pick up a 12-11 victory in nine innings in the first game of the series.
Things didn't look good from the start of game two for Houlka as Heair was knocked out of the ballgame after being hit by a line-drive from the first batter of the game. Nicole Linton was put into the circle in a do-or-die situation and delivered allowing the Lady Cats to pick up the 9-6 win to force game three back to Chickasaw County.
"Nicole kept the ball across the plate and let them put the ball in play when we needed it," Homan said about Linton's clutch performance.
The win puts Houlka in the Class 1A North State Semi-final round against the Vardaman as the Lady Rams swept tradition-rich Ingomar with a 7-6 game one win in eight innings and out-slugged the Lady Falcons 17-11 in game two.
"I expect it to be a close and hard-fought series between both teams," Homan said about their upcoming series against Vardaman.
Houlka picked up a one-run come-from-behind win at home against before 10-run ruling the Lady Rams on the road to get the regular season sweep. Game one of the series had not been as of press time, but will either take place on Thursday or Friday pending agreement reached with Vardaman as a large part of the softball team members will be participating in the region track meet in Pontotoc on Thursday.