Nelson hit keeps SHS softball team perfect

Published 11:12 am Wednesday, March 30, 2011

COURTLAND—Southampton High sophomore designated hitter Emily Nelson brought in the winning run in a 9-inning game Tuesday, allowing the Lady Indians to keep their perfect season intact.

The players streamed off the bench and mobbed Nelson, celebrating the biggest comeback in third-year head coach Susan Melbye’s Southampton career. The Lady Indians were down by 3 going into the final inning.

The 5-4 win against Southside District foe Bluestone makes the Lady Indians 5-0 for the season and 3-0 in the district. It was Southampton’s second win over the Lady Barons this season.

The Lady Indians had little trouble getting runners aboard, but left runners in scoring position in the first, third, fifth and sixth innings. They were not able to scratch across a run in the first seven frames.

The Lady Indians relied on “small ball” throughout the game; putting the ball in play and forcing the Lady Barons to make plays. Bluestone committed 3 errors, and combined with 2 Southampton hits, the Lady Indians put together multiple threats, but continually came away with nothing.

Lady Indians junior pitcher Ashlee Buehner gave Bluestone even bigger fits. Without walking a single batter the entire game, Buehner scattered 4 hits over the first seven frames and did not allow a single Lady Baron to second base.

At the end of the regulation 7 innings, the score was tied 0-0.

This is the first time this season for the Lady Indians that the International Tie Breaker Rule has been put into effect. With the rule, at the start of the eighth inning, a base-runner is placed at second base.

The Lady Barons scored a run in the top of the eighth. The Lady Indians got one back, getting a pair of singles and a base on balls, in their half of the inning, sending the game into the ninth inning.

In the visitors half of the ninth, the Lady Barons strung together three consecutive singles, coupled with the runners placed on second for the tiebreaker rule, plated what seemed to be the three game-winning runs.

The Lady Indians bared down. Buehner coaxed out a ground ball and a pop-up bunt, and then senior Megan Revell threw out a stealing Lady Baron for the final out.

The Lady Indians needed to score three runs in the ninth against a pitcher who’d given up 3 hits and struck out 5 batters. Southampton loaded the bases on a pair of infield hits, and then freshman Madison Cabell ripped a single, scoring a pair of Indians and advanced to second on the throw.

Candace Earls tied the ball game with a single to left, plating Buehner. All-State outfielder Regina Artis beat out an infield single to load the bases once more, and after a pop-out, Nelson poked a flare to left field to plate Cabell and the winning run.

Southampton will host Franklin at 4:30 p.m. Friday.