MA holds off Lakeside, moves to title round

MONTGOMERY — Despite the best efforts of Lakeside’s Chelsea Jones, Marengo Academy (26-3) pulled out an 8-5 win in its first game of AISA Class A state tourney action Saturday.

After a five-hour weather delay, Jones did her dead level best to keep Lakeside out of the losers bracket with a 3-for-3 afternoon that included a double, two home runs, four RBIs and three runs scored.

Jones also held the Lady Longhorns scoreless in five of the seven innings the teams played in the contest. The MA bats, however, were just hot enough in the third and fourth innings to help MA through to the championship round.

Alexia Johnson opened the third with a single before Taylor Barley looped a bunt over the head of the Lakeside third baseman. Chandler Stenz moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt before Anna Michael Crocker walked to load the bases with one out. A Katie Tucker grounder erased Johnson at the plate and left the Lady Longhorns with the bases loaded, two outs and Reesa Holifield at the plate. On the first pitch she saw, the MA senior catcher hit her second grand slam in as many weeks to put the Lady Longhorns up 4-0.

The fourth saw Andrea Edmonds start the rally with a leadoff walk before giving way to courtesy runner Payton Stokes, who scored on a RBI double by Johnson. A RBI infield single by Stenz plated Johnson for the 6-0 lead. Barley, who reached on a bunt single for a second time, scored on a passed ball for the 7-0 lead. Crocker picked up the RBI on a grounder that scored Stenz for the 8-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the fourth, Lakeside began whittling away at the lead when Jones doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a Lindsay Hulsey single with two outs.

Jones then ripped a solo shot in the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 8-2. The bottom of the seventh saw Sydney Williams reach on a bloop single and Hannah Killingsworth leg out an infield hit before Jones blasted a three-run shot for her eighth homer of the season.

Other MA hits in the game included a first inning double by Stenz, a Johnson single in the fifth and a Crocker infield hit in the sixth.

The Lady Longhorns defeated Edgewood and Ashford Friday to get to the pivotal winners bracket game against Lakeside.

Edmonds struck out five batters in the win for MA, bringing her total on the weekend to 13 Ks in 19 innings of work. She is expected to take to the rubber again at 7 p.m. when the Lady Longhorns head into championship play against the team that emerges from the losers bracket. The Lady Longhorns are seeking their fourth consecutive AISA state title.