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Pine Tree overcomes Marshall

George Whitley

By George Whitley
March 7, 2017 at 10:32 p.m.

Pine Tree's #11 swings at a pitch during Tuesdays March 7, 2017 game against Marshall. (Les Hassell/News-Journal Photo)

A slow start developed into a late-inning nail-biter that ultimately resulted in a harder-than-expected 7-3 District 16-5A opening victory for the Pine Tree Lady Pirates over the Marshall Lady Mavericks here Tuesday night.

The state-ranked Lady Pirates spotted the Lady Mavs an early 3-0 lead that lingered into the sixth inning.

Pine Tree chipped away at the three-run deficit with singles in the fourth and fifth before erupting for five in the sixth.

The Lady Pirates improve to 16--3-1 overall and 1-0 in league play, while the Lady Mavs are 4-13 and 0-1, respectively.

Pine Tree coach Katie Keith opted to start sophomore Julie Waddell in the circle. The young left-hander was simply unable to get in a groove and retired after five batters and 11 pitches.

Junior Madalyn Alexander came on in relief and, after a somewhat shaky start of her own, was able to take control.

Alexander retired 15 straight batters at one point and finished with 16 strikeouts. She was nothing short of commanding in the circle for the Lady Pirates and equally lethal in her only at bat of the night.

It was Alexander's sixth inning run-scoring triple off the fence in left field that brought home Dajah Montgomery all the way from first base to tie the game at 3-3.

"She is a special kind of person. She truly is," Keith said of her star pupil. "She's definitely the person you want in there when the game is on the line."

Alexander's three-base rap was able to ignite an otherwise sleeping offense for Pine Tree.

"I seem to feed off the negativity that goes on around me sometimes. I like to bring it all together," Alexander said.

"This is very important to beat a team like Marshall. Just getting that one down and ready to go for the next one."

Montgomery led off the sixth with a single down the third base line. She was plated on Alexander's hit. Lexie Green reached on a fielder's choice and scored the go-ahead tally on an error at second.

Sydney Robinson drew a base on balls and would eventually cross on Haley Morgan's single down the line in right.

Chyenne Thurmon, who had reached on the error at second which scored Green, was plated when Robin Jackson smacked a two-run single to left field. Morgan scooted around to score behind Thurmon to make it 7-3.

Marshall got its first two runs in the first inning as Haylie Rich led off with a single to right center. She eventually scored on an error at third. Kinley Wilkins got a one-single and was chased home on a Gabby Moore RBI slap to center.

Maycee Griffin started the top half of the second with a free pass and scored on a throwing error.

Waddell clubbed Pine Tree's first hit in the second, but was cut down on an attempted steal of second.

Na'keyia Fisher was safe on an error with one down in the fourth and scratched for Pine Tree's first run on a wild pitch. Fisher drove in Thurmon an inning later for the second Lady Pirate tally.

Pine Tree treks to Texarkana Friday, while Marshall is off Friday and hosts Texas High next Tuesday.

(Follow George Whitley on Twitter: @GPigskinprof)

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