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Lady Braves win battle in area race

The battle for top seeding in West Area II Class A softball came to an end Monday as the Warrior Academy Lady Braves took a 12-2 victory over the West Alabama Lady Titans.

The Lady Braves (6-3), led by sophomore pitcher Crystal Clements, took a one area game advantage over the Lady Titans (5-4) with their win Monday, and will now head into the AISA Softball State Finals with the No. 4 seed.

Both teams entered into their final regular season game Monday with a 5-3 mark in area play and a reserved spot in the state finals. But there was still a question of seeding to be answered and Monday’s game would be the deciding factor for both teams.

After an almost fatal beginning, the Lady Titans were able to pull back their forces and regroup before the Lady Braves were able to put the game away. But just when a dramatic come back looked inevitable for the Lady Titans, there came a wave of hits in the top of the seventh inning to end it all.

The Lady Braves took an early advantage off Lady Titans starting pitcher Whitney Martin as they banged out eight runs in just three-and-a-third innings. Martin allowed eight runs on four hits, while walking four batters, three of which came with the bases loaded in the second inning.

Courtney Pruitt came in relief for Martin in the top of the third inning and shut the Lady Braves down for over three innings of play, giving the Lady Titans a chance at a comeback. But the Titans defense would fold in the top of the seventh allowing the Lady Braves to tack on four more runs and expand their once five-run lead to an overwhelming nine-run lead.

Pruitt would finish the game earning 2K’s, while giving up four runs on five hits with four walks. Though her stats don’t show it, Pruitt did an outstanding job of keeping the Lady Braves’ from extending their lead with her impressive performance on the mound.

Pruitt would also lead the Lady Titans at the plate Monday as she went 2-for-3 with 1RBI. Following Pruitt would be Alison Elmore with two hits, along with one hit apiece for Jackie Lewis, Katie Jennings and Whitney Martin.

For the Lady Braves it was all Clements. The sophomore repeatedly forced the lady Titans to put the ball on the ground or in the air for easy outs. Clements went seven innings earning 1K, while giving up two runs on six hits with three walks.

With the win, the Lady Braves will move into the state finals as the No. 4 seed, while the Lady Titans will fall into Friday’s double elimination tournament at Lagoon Park as the No. 8 seed.

The Lady Titans will face the No. 1 seed Jackson Academy Lady Eagles Friday at 10 a.m.