Picayune softball advance to third round in sweep, PRC knocked out of playoffs

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 29, 2017

Last year’s loss was definitely on the Lady Tide’s mind when West Harrison beat them in the second round of the playoffs with 2-1 and 1-0 victories. This year though, West Harrison felt the power of the Lady Tide Thursday and Friday as Picayune swept the Lady Hurricanes. Alyssa Pinero batted for three hits and three RBIs in the two games, and Megan Dudenhefer pitched two complete games, gathering 10 strikeouts while walking only three batters and allowing six to reach first base, Head Coach Kristi Mitchell said.

Prior to the series, both teams had additional rest with byes in the first round of the 5A playoffs, storing energy that was evident in the initial stages of Thursday night at Kirsti Mitchell Field, but one team shone the other, taking an early lead that was difficult to overcome.

The Lady Tide pounced on a quick three-run lead in the first inning, and after a boost of morale, Picayune mounted two more runs in the third while Dudenhefer shut out the Hurricanes in the first four innings, only to compromise her only run of the night in the fifth.

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Pinero finished the game averaging .333 at-bat with one hit. Dudenhefer contributed two hits to compliment her performance on the mound, giving up only two hits and a single run with three strikeouts in game one.

The Lady Tide regrouped after its game one 5-1 victory and hit the road to West Harrison to close out the second round series.

Friday, the Lady Tide lacked the same tenacity as the day before, reaching a stalemate with the Hurricanes through the first couple of innings, with both teams scoring a single run in the third.

West Harrison then took its first lead of the series in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring two runs to Picayune’s one to take a 3-2 lead over the Lady Tide.

However, Dudenhefer and the rest of the Picayune team remained composed, scoring five runs while pounding hit after hit in the sixth to slice into the Hurricanes’ lead and run away with the terminating victory, winning 8-4 and advancing to the third round.

Lady Tide’s Jessica Magee, Pinero and Sarah Walker led Picayune Friday night with two hits each. Pinero placed three RBIs along with Elizabeth Taggard, who also had three RBIs on her single hit of the night. Magee tacked on an RBI for Picayune, Mitchell said.

Dudenhefer pitched a complete game allowing four hits and four runs while walking two and striking out seven West Harrison batters.

Picayune advances to the quarterfinals against district foe Stone Lady Tomcats. Game one will be Monday at 7 p.m. in Picayune.

On the other side of the 5A tournament bracket, Pearl River Central lost to Long Beach 8-7 and 7-5 in the second round after coming off of a first round bye.

Madison Gower led the Lady Devils in game one with two hits and three RBIs for a .667 batting average, but her efforts were not enough to overcome the heavy hitting Long Beach Bearcats after the team turned 10 hits into eight runs.

After gaining an early 6-3 lead in the third, PRC went quiet for the remainder of the night, allowing Long Beach an opportunity to get back in the game with two runs in the final inning to force the game into extra innings tied at seven. Then, the Long Beach hitting continued into the eighth inning, scoring two more runs that put the Lady Devils in a tight corner. PRC managed to score one run early in the eighth, but could not muster another, taking an 8-7 loss in game one Thursday.

PRC’s Shelby Archer, Jayden Davis and Harlee Davis each tallied a hit in game one. Jade Latham pitched four innings, allowing seven hits and four runs while striking out eight. Taylor Harris also took the mound for the Lady Devils, striking out four batters in her three innings, according to MaxPreps.com.

In game two on Friday, PRC had no answer to Long Beach’s batting performance, getting out hit again as the Lady Bearcats scored all seven runs in the first four innings to take a 7-1 lead.

The Lady Devils then hit a groove, scoring and hitting at will until Long Beach took control of the game again, eliminating the Devils with a 7-5 win in game two.