Lady Bulldogs beat Tharptown 2-1
The Belgreen softball team earned a tough 2-1 road win Monday against Tharptown and moved one step closer to forcing a winner-take-all series against Speake for the right to host the Class 1A, Area 15 Tournament.
Belgreen struggled offensively in the first inning as all three batters grounded out.
Tharptown did not fare much better its first time at the plate. Heather Hatton singled with one out, but was caught stealing before Hollie Hines popped out to end the inning.
Katelin Barber led off the top of the second for Belgreen by drawing a walk. She advanced to second on a sacrifice by Amber Smith.
Lauren Oliver grounded out to third, but Barber was able to score from second on the play to give the Lady Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
Tharptown threatened to tie the score in the bottom of the second when Jess Myrick doubled. Her pinch runner advanced to third on a sacrifice by Chelsey McCluskey.
Lauren Scott lined out to shortstop and Belgreen was able to double off the runner at third to end the inning.
Belgreen had a pair of players reach third base in the third inning, but a stingy Tharptown defense prevented the Lady Bulldogs from adding to their lead.
Hines tied the game for the Lady Wildcats in the fourth inning with a solo home run to left field.
Belgreen took the lead in the seventh when Oliver singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice by Katy Britton. Deborah Billingham doubled to drive Oliver home for the winning run.
Martha Billingham picked up the win for Belgreen, giving up three hits and striking out six in seven innings of work.
Deborah Billingham had a pair of hits while Smith and Oliver both singled.
Myrick took the loss for Tharptown. She allowed four hits and struck out six.
Hines' homered, Myrick doubled and Hatton singled for the Lady Wildcats.
With the win, Belgreen improves to 5-0 in area play. The Lady Bulldogs travel to Speake Monday and host the Lady Bobcats Tuesday.
Speake is also undefeated in area play and the winner of that series will be the favorite to host the area tournament.
Tharptown, which was swept by Speake, still has an outside shot at hosting, but the Lady Wildcats will need to win the rest of their area games – including another game against Belgreen – and get some help from other teams in the area.