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Lady Tigers wake up bats in Hale County win

Demopolis (8-12) scored in every inning but the the fourth Thursday, locking up its sixth win a week with an 11-1 victory over visiting Hale County.

The Lady Tigers set Hale County down in order to open the contest before junior center fielder Samantha Walker fought off a series of two-strike pitches to rope a single past a diving Lady Wildcat shortstop to ignite the team’s first scoring rally of the night. Walker proceeded to steal second before ultimately coming around to score on an RBI single by junior second baseman Kristin Beach.

The Lady Tigers stretched the game out in the second inning when sophomore Madison Laduron drew a walk before giving way to courtesy runner Victoria Washburn. The Demopolis freshman proceeded to steal second and then move to third on a fly ball by senior catcher Carly Latham. Washburn then came home on a Sidney Colyar RBI single to move the lead to 2-0.

A walk by senior first baseman Ashley Polk and a Walker single loaded the bases before sophomore Madison Bozeman picked up an RBI with a grounder to the second baseman that allowed Colyar, a freshman third baseman, to score. The Hale County fielder picked up the ball, but failed to step on the bag for the force play, leaving the bases loaded with one out.

After Polk scored on a passed ball, Beach came up with an infield single to load the bases again. Two batters later, sophomore left fielder Alex Crawford hit a single to left that scored Walker and Bozeman and extended the Demopolis lead to 6-0.

After conceding a run in the third inning, the Lady Tigers struck again when Polk and Bozeman both singled before Beach brought both in with a single to hand Demopolis an 8-1 advantage.

Walker singled again to start a rally in the fifth inning, moving to second on a Bozeman grounder and then stealing third. Beach proved clutch once more, stroking another RBI single to plate Walker and make the lead 9-1.

Demopolis put itself in position to end the game in the sixth when junior Melanie McCrory drew a walk before classmate Lindsey Fields singled and gave way to courtesy runner Victoria Webb. Colyar followed with a triple to score both, ending the game via the 10-run rule.

The top three hitters in the Demopolis lineup combined to go 9-for-12 on the night as Walker, Bozeman and Beach each went 3-for-4. Walker scored three runs, Bozeman scored twice and Beach recorded four RBIs. Crawford and Colyar each put together a 2-for-4 game. Polk went 1-for-2 with a walk while Laduron walked in each of her three at-bats.

The win removed some of the bitter taste the Lady Tigers had after dropping their season opener to Hale County in Moundville more than a month ago.

“Big win for us,” Demopolis head coach Joey Browder said. “They beat us 12-9 in our opening ball game at their place. A big win for us to cap a big week off.”

That week has seen the Lady Tigers win six of their last eight games to erase the unsightly 2-10 record they took into the Tombigbee Tournament in Leroy Friday, March 19.

“Overall a good week for us,” Browder, whose team suffered a setback to Leroy Saturday and a 3-0 home loss to Bibb County Wednesday. “(Wednesday) night hurt our feelings. I was pleased with how we fought. We just didn’t put the bat on the ball.”

Browder is hopeful his team can keep its momentum as a makeup date with Aliceville looms before it returns to region play in Selma April 6.

“I think they’ve settled down and are playing together,” he said of his players. “We’ve got a ways to go, but we’re getting some stuff work out.”

During his squad’s 2-10 stretch, Browder cited the group’s need to identify and exercise its leadership abilities as a major struggle. Over the last week, he has been pleased with the progress on that front.

“Leadership has been here all along. We’ve just been looking for some ladies to step up and lead by example. That’s happening,” Browder said. “The team is becoming our leader. They are learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses, learning how to pick each other up and that’s what it is all about.”

The junior varsity team picked up a 7-4 win over Hale County Thursday night and will compete in a double-header Monday at Hillcrest.