The first six Diamond Raider batters were set down on Monday afternoon, as Oak hill (12-8; 3-3) battled for a playoff spot against conference rival Winston. They eventually battled back to win 6-1.
“They’ve got a little confidence and a little stagger about them,” said Oak Hill head coach Marion Bratton about his girls. “I’m tickled to death with that.”
After the first two innings went by without a whimper from the Lady Raiders, Winston paid for it in the third.
Oak Hill plated five runs in the inning, and the scoring was capped off by a two-run opposite field home run by Paige Dawkins.
Power was the story of the afternoon for the Lady Raiders, who saw pitcher Mamie Allen in the circle for the first time in two weeks. Allen had been out with an upper quad injury.
She was back in good form on Monday. It took her a while to get her usual zip on her fastball, but once she settled in, she was nearly untouchable.
She gave up three consecutive singles in the first inning, sandwiched between three strikeouts.
Those singles produced Winston’s only run of the afternoon.
When the bottom of the third came around, Kim Kelly was at the plate. She laced a single to center to get things started.
After getting their first hit of the game, the Lady Raiders stepped it up a notch, as Allen helped her own cause with a double that put runners at second and third. Lauren Hitt ran for Allen.
Meg McBrayer, who hit a three-run double in last week’s district game against Manchester, took one for the team as the ball hit her. Margen Ellis popped out to the pitcher next.
Anna Lummus came to the plate and ripped an RBI single to right to tie the game.
Mary Helon Hays then hit a sacrifice fly to left that scored Hitt, and an error brought McBrayer all the way around from first.
With Hays at second, Dawkins came up to bat, and she went the opposite way with a long fly ball that landed in the grass, on the other side of the fence for a home run, making it 5-1.
“What a shot Paige hit,” said Bratton, after the game.
Allen was pumped, and she was just getting warmed up. She retired all three batters in a row in the top of the fourth.
In the bottom of the inning, Allen got on again, this time with a walk, with one out.
Hitt ran for her again, and she stole second base. McBrayer moved Hitt over to third, and she would then come around on Maegan Ellis’ RBI single to make it 6-1.
In the top of the fifth, Winston was threatening. With a runner at first, a steal was attempted, but a good throw by Hunter Coleman sent her scrambling back to first. On the next pitch, Winston tested Coleman again, only to be thrown out at second, by three feet.
The two teams would play all seven, but Allen was not allowing anything else, as the Lady Raider defense cruised to the win.
The Lady Raiders are 2-0 against Winston this year, giving them the edge in the event of a tie for second in the district.
“Everything should work out in our favor for being number two,” Bratton said of the girls’ playoff chances. “Even if they win tomorrow, we should still have the heads up on them.”
Oak Hill will play a non-conference game this afternoon at 4 p.m. against Starkville Academy.