Prep softball: Oxford falls in North Regional opener
by Mark Edwards
May 10, 2013 | 5311 views |  0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HUNTSVILLE -- If Oxford High manages to make the Class 6A state softball tournament, the Yellow Jackets are going to have to survive a long day Saturday.

They dug a hole Friday night, losing to Grissom 3-2 in the opening round of the double-elimination North Regional.

To make the state tournament, the Yellow Jackets will need to win the regional's elimination bracket -- and that means winning four games today at the Huntsville Sportsplex. The road starts at 9:30 a.m. when Oxford (30-19) faces either Austin or Buckhorn.

"We can do it," Oxford coach Wendy McKibbin said. "We've battled all season. It's do or die. We've got to step up and play."

Regional action started 5 1/2 hours late Friday because of rain, and Oxford wound up starting nearly four hours later than it was supposed to play.

When the Yellow Jackets finally hit the field, they struggled to hit. They managed two runs in the fourth, but other than that, the Oxford bats were mostly silent against Grissom pitcher Sara Duncan, who wasn't flashy but was solid.

Trailing 2-0, Oxford roughed her up in the fourth when it loaded the bases with one out. Haley Lyner delivered a one-out single to score two runs. But Duncan retired the next two batters without allowing any more damage.

Oxford managed only one more baserunner until the bottom of the eighth when it was fighting a 3-2 deficit. Again, the Yellow Jackets failed to convert an opportunity for a big inning.

With one out, Stewart Gail Chase stood on third and Makenzie Trantham occupied first. Both had reached on singles. But Duncan got two groundouts without anybody scoring, and that was the ballgame.

"When you've got the opportunity to score, you've got to get the runners home," McKibbin said.

Grissom's winning run came in the top of the eighth when Amy Hamaker's groundout brought home Courtney Lee.

Earlier in the day, Cedar Bluff beat Woodville 11-0 in a Class 1A opener but then lost to Decatur Heritage 10-0. Sand Rock beat Fyffe 5-2 in a 2A first-round game.

Contact Sports Editor Mark Edwards at 256-235-3570 or Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.

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