Mavs Earn Region II Title With 7-2 Win Over Cavs

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          The Lady Mavs traveled to the University of Dorman to take on Lady Cavaliers and attempt to win their fourth straight region II crown.  Due to some odd scheduling, this would be the first meeting between the two teams in 2011 with the return game to take place at Clayton field on the very next day.  Though the Lady Cavs were currently mired in 6th place in the very tough seven team region, they had played their region rivals tough all year and would prove to be anything but a push over.

          Bria Barnhill lead off the game for the Lady Mavs, as Coach Terry continued to juggle the top two spots in an effort to find the best production, but the first three innings would be dominated by pitching and defense.  In fact the Lady Mavs would only get one ball out of the infield in the first 3 frames, a long fly ball off the bat of Madison Tracey that was corralled in foul territory by the Lady Cav’s left fielder.

          Mauldin ace Amanda Storch and the Mav defense, though not quite as efficient, was prove just as effective.  After starting the game by striking out the Lady Cav’s lead off hitter, the second Cav hitter reached on a single up the middle and was then forced at second base by the Mav middle infielders on a fielder’s choice.  Catcher Katelyn Wagers helped out her battery mate by gunning out the Cavalier base runner attempting to steal second to end the inning.

          The Lady Cavs would get another base runner in the second on a free pass to the lead off but she would not advance past first as Storch retired the next three hitters on a couple of ground outs and another strike out.  The Cavaliers mounted a two out threat in the third with a walk and a single to left, but Storch again snuffed it out with a come backer to the mound.

          The Lady Mavs finally got the bats going in the 4th when Brianna Davis broke up the no hitter with a line drive single to right.  Dana Landers followed suit with a double to left center.  DeeDee Sullivan then got the Mavs on the board with an infield hit scoring Davis from 3rd.  Sullivan then stole second to put runners right back at 2nd and 3rd but the Lady Cavs pitcher was able to escape without any further damage with a shallow fly to left and another ground ball to second.

          Dorman continued to apply pressure with a one out single in the bottom of the 4th, a see and eye grounder in the hole between 3rd and short.  Storch was again up to the task, however, getting the next two outs unassisted with a strike out and a pop up.

          The fifth started out promising for the Lady Mavs, as Storch attempted to help her own cause with ground ball single up the middle, but her counter part quickly squelched the mild threat by retiring the next three Mav hitters.

          The bottom of the fifth would also start off promising for the Lady Cavs when the lead off hitter reached on an infield error and promptly stole second.  After a strike out, the Cav base runner sensed another chance to advance on a pitch in the dirt, but the Mav catcher quickly scooped up the loose ball and fired a strike to third baseman Brianna Davis to get out number two.  Dana Landers then made a nice catch on a soft liner to end the inning.

          The Mav offense would finally show some life in the 6th as Brianna Davis lead off with an infield single and moved to second on a passed ball.   Then a one out base on balls to DeeDee Sullivan was followed by back-to-back rbi singles to right by Wagers and Swearingen to increase the Mav lead to 3-0.  That would be all for the Cavalier starter Nikki Hembree, as the Cavaliers handed the ball to right fielder Marissa Kiesler.  The pitching change drew immediate rewards as Kiesler retired Storch on a fielders choice and then the Cavaliers got the benefit of a rarely used call when a Mav base runner was called for leaving the bag early for out number three.

          The Cavaliers wasted no time in the bottom half of the inning in mounting a comeback.  On the very first offering from Storch, the lead off hitter again found the hole between short and third as the ball deflected off the outstretched glove of shortstop Dana Landers and into left field for a single.  The Cav lefty centerfielder then stroked a slicing line driving to left that got by the Mav left fielder and rolled to the fence.  The runner would score all the way from first as the Lady Cav hitter wheeled around to third.  The next Cav batter made it three consecutive hits with an rbi single to right field.  The score was now 3-2 with a runner on first and still nobody out, but though bent, the Mav defense would not break.  When the next Cav hitter popped up a bunt attempt, third baseman Davis charged in to catch the ball just off her shoe tops and threw on to second baseman Bria Barnhill covering first to complete the double play.  Storch then stuck out the next hitter to end the inning and preserve the now narrow one run lead.

          With the game and the 20 game winning streak now in doubt the Mavs looked for some insurance runs in the top of the 7th.  Madison Tracey got the ball rolling with a looping single to shallow right center.  Lyles moved her to second with a sac bunt and Bria Barnhill then coaxed a four pitch walk. With the count 2-2, Brianna Davis reached out to hit a tough pitch back through the box for an rbi single scoring Tracey from second.  Landers followed with a line drive rbi single of her own to left to put the Mavs up 5-2.  With the game slipping away, the Cavalier coach decided to change pitchers again reinserting the starter Nikki Hembree.  Hembree did her job getting DeeDee Sullivan to hit a slow grounder to second, but a hustling Dana Landers beat the throw to the shortstop covering second.  With the bases now loaded Wagers hit a hard ground ball that got through the Cav shortstop and brought to more Mav runners to the plate..  Hembree was able to retire the next two Mav hitters on  pop ups to the first baseman and left fielder, but by now the Mavs had hit around and owned a 7-2 lead.

          With the now much more comfortable five run lead Storch took the mound and retired all three batters she faced to end the game.  It was the third win of the week for the Lady Mavs and earned them their 4th straight 4A region II championship.  But there is no rest for the weary as the same Cavaliers travel to Mauldin for the return game on Friday.