No. 1 Longhorns survive scare

Published 9:54 pm Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Marengo Academy (13-0, 3-0) narrowly kept its unbeaten record intact Tuesday, relying on last-out heroics from Jessica Brock to beat Escambia 7-6 in the front end of a double-header. The top-ranked Lady Longhorns trailed 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning before a Katie Tucker triple ignited a three-run outburst. The fram saw an RBI from Kaliegh Robison (Tucker) and two from Nicole Langley (Robison and Taylor Barley).

Marengo battled the rest of the way back to tie the game in the fifth when Robison stroked another RBI single to plate Tucker yet again. The Lady Longhorns pulled in front for the first time in the sixth inning when Reesa Holifield hit an RBI single to plate Chandler Stenz and give MA a 6-5 lead.

The advantage proved short-lived as Escambia’s Chelsey Ramer hit a single in the top of the seventh to score Page Lancaster and tie the game before serving as the go-ahead run herself on a Niki Bryan RBI.

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Escambia appeared ready to make a winner out of piitcher Tori Rodriguez when it recorded a pair of groundball outs that left Tucker as the tying run on second with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Anna Edmonds knocked a groundball on the ensuing play, but a throwing error extended the game and allowed Tucker to score.

The glimpse of life was all Brock, MA’s starting pitcher, needed to end the game with a double that scored Barley, who was in to pinch run for Edmonds.

“We were flat as a pancake. We made errors all over the place,” MA head coach Todd Mathis said before crediting the Escambia effort. “That’s a gritty team. They are much better than they were last year.”

In the second game, the Lady Longhorns had to come from behind again. This time MA erased a 2-0 deficit to go on to an 8-5 win. Escambia, playing as the home team in order to satisfy its region requirements with MA, trailed 8-3 in the bottom of the seventh before loading the bases with no outs.

“I don’t know what the problem is,” Mathis said. “(Marengo) better turn it on because we’re going to see some teams that are better than that. We’ve got to fix (pitching). We’ve got to fix defense because we’re not making the routine plays.”