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Lady Longhorns exact revenge

They had to wait over 10 months, but the Lady Longhorns (12-0) gained a measure of retribution Thursday with an 11-1 win over Lowndes Academy, the team that proved too much for them in the 2008 Class AA state championship.

“They’re the team to beat in AA right now,” Lowndes head coach Matt Marshall said of Marengo Academy following the game.

Marengo took a 1-0 lead in the first when Michelle Pritchett scored on a Chelsea Etheridge RBI grounder.

The Lady Longhorns continued to swing the bats in the second inning when Abbey Huckabee led off the frame with a solo home run. Jessica Brock and Pritchett would each add RBI grounders later in the inning, plating Destiny Huckabee and Shelby Mathis to extend the MA lead to 4-0. The Lady Longhorns added one more in the second when Kaliegh Robison hit a single up the middle to score Anna Edmonds.

“I wasn’t scared at all,” senior Amber Walker said of her team’s focus coming into the game. “We’ve been playing really good ball. (Marengo pitcher) Michelle (Pritchett) has been keeping the ball away from everybody.”

Lowndes showed its first signs of life in the fourth inning when Lansdon Spear drew a walk to start the frame before giving way to pinch-runner Brenna Headley. Ashley Wilkinson then stroked an RBI single to left, plating Headley and accounting for Lowndes’ only hit of the day.

In the middle of the fourth, Marengo head coach Todd Mathis told his players to get back the run and then some. They responded.

Pritchett reached on a single before coming around to score on an error by the LA second baseman. Robison scored the second run of the inning on a wild pitch before Destiny Huckabee followed suit a few pitches later. At the end of the fourth, Marengo led the defending state champions 8-1.

The Longhorns added another run in the fifth when Mathis led the inning off with a single before swiping second and coming in to score when the throw from the Lady Rebel catcher sailed into center field.

Up 9-1 heading into the home half of the sixth, Marengo looked to end the game.

“We were bound and determined we were going to get two runs,” Etheridge said. “We wanted to 10-run them.”

Robison drew a walk to lead off the inning, setting the stage for Etheridge.

“I was not going to pop up this time,” Etheridge said after the game.

The Lady Longhorn center fielder redirected the only pitch she saw in the at-bat, sending it beyond the center field fence for a two-run walkoff home run to end the game.

“She was waiting for the first (pitch),” Mathis said of Etheridge’s approach at the plate. “She was going to jump on the first one and she did it.”

“It feels pretty good,” Abbey Huckabee said of the win before turning her attention to the team’s season goals. “We’re planning on going undefeated anyway.”

The win, while cementing the Lady Longhorns squarely atop AISA Class AA, also gave Southern Union signees Pritchett and Abbey Huckabee a win over Lowndes standouts Wilkinson and Jordan Insinga, who inked commitments with the Lady Bison in February.

“It feels really good,” Pritchett said. “I’ve been talking to Jordan and it just made me more eager to play them so I could show her up.”

Pritchett limited Lady Rebel hitters to one hit and one run while striking out nine over six innings of work.

“She’s a senior,” Mathis said of his hurler. “She’s been here before. She knows that no matter what happens at the plate, she has a job to do on the mound.”