It wasn’t even a new venue.
Less than 24 hours after downing Saks by a run to advance to the championship round, White Plains defeated Saks 3-2 Saturday afternoon to earn its first Calhoun County tournament title.
Top-seeded White Plains came back from behind to earn their fourth one-run victory against Saks this season and cement themselves as the county’s preeminent team on the diamond.
“We go through these situations every day at practice,” tournament MVP White Plains shortstop Jordan Coleman said.
“Coach (Rachel Ford) will bring in base runners. She’ll just get us in the mind state of ‘Hey, this is the county championship and there’s runners on third and second’ or ‘This is the state championship game and you’re down. What are you going to do?”
Saturday, White Plains was down one in the bottom of the fourth inning.
White Plains got on the board first. It led 1-0 after two on an RBI single from second baseman Kiley Ponder that scored Coleman, who’d doubled earlier in the inning. Saks evened the score in the fourth when Haley Cobb came through with a double of her own to bring in Tiffany Springer.
Saks catcher Rebecca Bowen, the next batter in the lineup, added an RBI double to put White Plains (31-7) on its heels with one out.
But White Plains freshman pitcher Anna Snider never lost her composure and forced McKynlie Nunez into a double play to get out of the inning.
Morgan Cobb popped out to start the fifth for White Plains but Coleman tripled with one out to put her team in business. Kiley Ponder’s two-out RBI doubled tied the game at 2-all.
Second-seeded Saks (22-11) had a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the fifth but a runner interfered with Coleman on her way to third for the third out.
Snider retired 11 of the last 14 batters she faced, striking out two in a row in the seventh to end the game. She finished with six strikeouts and gave up five hits on her way to being named the tournament’s Defensive MVP.
“You just have to keep playing your game because if you start worrying, you’re just going to fall apart,” Snider said.
“We’ve been put in this situation over and over again in practice and that’s why I believe we’re prepared and everybody can just relax and play their game.”
A well-placed bunt down the third base line from White Plains leadoff hitter Sophia Taylor coupled with a Saks error allowed her reach third to start the seventh. Cobb grounded out for the final RBI of the game to make the score 3-2.
“I had just noticed that their second baseman was playing very far in the hole close to second base,” Ford said. “I thought it would be a foot race between the second baseman and my batter.”
Saks junior pitcher Taylor West was named the tournament’s Offensive MVP.
She struck out 11 against White Plains while giving up seven hits and a pair of earned runs.
Cobb and Bowen both finished with a hit and an RBI and Springer and Nunez each had hits for Saks.
“Both teams played hard,” Saks coach Mike Tucker said. “This is four times now and the last two have been 3-2, identical scores. We were in four one-run ball games and three of those went extra innings.”
Coleman led White Plains, going 3-for-4 with a single, double and triple. Ponder was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI and Carley Wood was 2-for-3.
“This is big, especially with the teams in our county,” Ford said. “Without a doubt this is a great tournament and it’s going to do a lot for our confidence.”
Saks 3, Oxford 2 (8 innings)— Taylor West struck out 15 and while allowing just one earned run on five hits to advance the Lady Wildcats to the championship round.
Tiffany Springer’s sacrifice fly in the eighth inning drove in Kendra Prater to win the ball game.
Haley Cobb drove in West to give the Lady Wildcats a 2-0 lead in the seventh.
Kabrina Snell finished 2-for-4 with a triple and run scored.
Oxford 10, Jacksonville 0; Oxford 9, Alexandria 6; Saks 3, Oxofrd 2 (8 innings) — Ashleigh McClure went 6-for-9 with a grand slam, two home runs and nine RBIs for the day to lead the Yellow Jackets.
Corleigh Elrod pitched all three games and totaled 12 strikeouts.
Shanda Chastain was 5-for-9 with a double and two RBIs. Haley Lyner went 3-for-9 with a double and three RBIs. Jenn Turner was 3-for-8 with a double and three RBIs.
Oxford (28-14) hosts Southside on Monday.
— From staff reports