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Lady Rams Fall Short in SEC Title Game!
May 13, 2011Purnell Swett High School
Champions are born in many ways.
Some have an easy path to the top, while others have to scrap and fight their way through to achieve glory.
The Scotland High School varsity softball team looked poised to be that first kind of champion, steamrolling their competition all the way through the regular season, with the Southeastern Conference Tournament just a formality on their way to the league crown.
Despite their dominant regular season run, the Scots had to show that they were the second kind of champs Thursday night at home against Purnell Swett, as Scotland fought and clawed their way to the top of the conference with a 6-5 win over the Rams in extra innings.
Scotland overcame a 4-run deficit to claim the league title, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to earn their place atop the podium.
"It was one of those situations where we played hard, but we weren't focused at the start," Scotland head coach Patrick Williams said. "We learned tonight that it's not how you start, but how you finish. I was impressed with their fight. They were impressive tonight."
The Rams shell-shocked Scotland in the second inning, putting the Scots in an unfamiliar 4-0 hole to force Scotland to battle their way back if they wanted a chance for the conference's top prize.
Purnell led off the scoring on a Danielle Sanchez infield single to go up 1-0, extending their lead to 3-0 one batter later with a 2-RBI Kayla Lewis double to left field.
The Rams posted one more score in the inning on a Mo Dial double to take the commanding 4-run advantage. Purnell looked hungry for their first win against Scotland this season, as they held the Scots off the score board over the first five innings.
The Rams were brimming with the confidence of a team that wasn't scared to take on their undefeated counterparts on the road, but in the top of the sixth, Scotland's championship swagger finally showed, as the Scots knotted up the score at 4-4 on a pair of hits in the inning.
Lauren Medlin posted Scotland's first score of the night, reaching home on a Rams' error to slice the lead to three with no out in the frame. A Courtney Williams infield single plated Jonissa Monley to cut Purnell's lead in half, and a Destiny Morrison groundball to first allowed the Scots' final two runs of the inning to cross home, knotting the score at 4-4.
Purnell answered Scotland's rally with the game's go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning, scoring their fifth run of the contest on a 2-out walk.
Scotland finally took control of the contest in the final half inning, with Cori Newton leading off the frame with a single to left. Lindsey Wright plated the game-tying score two batters later with a double, and Scotland clinched the game on a Rams' passed ball to score Williams for the win.
The Scotland victory left the Rams in second place for the second time this season after Purnell Swett finished as the SEC regular season runner-up to the Scots. Williams said the come from behind victory over a team that had played Scotland close all year really was a testament to his program's desire to win.
"It speaks volumes (in the way that we won)," he said. "We were the regular season champs and it's only right for us to be tournament champs. It shows that all of those other games we won, it wasn't a fluke. We are for real."
Scotland strung together seven hits in the win, including a pair of hits from Newton to lead the Scots at the plate.
Shae Barnes, Whitney Britt, Lauren Medlin, Williams and Wright finished with hits for Scotland.
Newton earned the win on the mound for the Scots, throwing all eight innings while allowing eight hits. Newton recorded two strikeouts on the night.
Scotland pushes their season record to a perfect 22-0 and will now have a break until the first round of the North Carolina 4-A State playoffs.
The first round is set to begin Tuesday, May 17.