EA comes up short at state

Published 8:49 am Wednesday, May 11, 2005

By By Tim Cottrell
The Escambia Academy Lady Cougars saw their season come to an end Saturday in the state finals of the Alabama Independent School Association's softball playoffs at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.
EA played four games in a two-day period beginning Friday, and were eliminated from the double-elimination tournament in the early game Saturday morning by eventual state champion Tuscaloosa Academy.
This team was no stranger to this type of play and did not disappoint me," Lady Cougar head coach Darrell Jackson. "They did not give up, even after losing the first game. All the games were very close. The Lady Cougars hung in there and were never out of any game they played. The girls showed a lot of class and a lot of character, which is a trademark of this team and always has been and always will be."
South Choctaw 5
The Lady Cougars began things Friday by putting themselves in the loser's bracket, losing to eventual state runner-up South Choctaw Academy.
Stacey Gibbs, who pitched every inning of all four games, took the loss at pitcher for EA, pitching all seven innings and allowing seven hits while striking out six.
Rayleen Miller led the Lady Cougars at the plate, batting 2-for-3 with a double.
South Choctaw pitcher Kristen Skinner held the Lady Cougars to only three hits, striking out six. She also hit a home run in the first inning, only two batters after a South Choctaw batter led off the game with a home run on the first pitch.
Clarke Prep 4
EA faced a familiar opponent in its second game Friday, facing the Lady Gators of Clarke Prep for the fourth time this year. Much like the other three, the Lady Cougars gutted out a tough win late.
Stacey Gibbs picked up her 10th win of the season at pitcher, going all seven innings and allowing only four hits and striking out four. She also helped herself out at the plate, batting 3-for-3 on the day.
Lori Bonds provided the firepower for EA, batting 1-for-3 on the day with a double and two RBI. Jaime Drew also batted 1-for-2 and pitched in another RBI.
Clarke Prep led 4-1 through four-and-a-half innings, but the Lady Cougars scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the win.
"The defense played really well," Jackson said. "We made some big plays and shut'em down."
Meadowview 1
The Lady Cougars closed out the day Friday with a resounding victory over second-seeded Meadowview Christian Academy.
Stacey Gibbs again pitched well for EA, striking out seven and allowing only three hits in seven innings of work.
Jaime Drew and Keisha Lee were the big bats for EA on the day, both batting 1-for-2. Drew added a double.
The bulk of the damage was done in the third inning by EA. Six Lady Cougar runs scored in the inning after Meagan Jackson and Lori Bonds reached base. Sacrifice attempts by Gibbs and Lee were botched, which resulted in several fielding errors and miscues by Meadowview, allowing six runs to score.
Tuscaloosa Academy 4
An early morning wake-up call proved to be a bad one for the Lady Cougars, as eventual AISA state champion Tuscaloosa Academy ended the season for EA, and the careers for three seniors.
Escambia struck first in the 10 a.m. contest, pushing their first two batters across the plate. Tuscaloosa responded with three runs in the bottom of the fourth to provide the cushion they needed for the win.
"We just couldn't get the hits when we needed them," Jackson said.
Stacey Gibbs pitched admirably in her fourth start in two days, going all seven innings and striking out six.
Senior Meagan Jackson led EA at the plate, batting 2-for-3 with an RBI. Jaime Drew batted 2-for-4 on the day.
"I hate we couldn't deliver a championship for our three seniors (Meagan Jackson, Keisha Lee, and Rayleen Miller)," Jackson said. "They will be missed greatly. They left something for our underclassmen that will always be remembered, and that was their outstanding leadership qualities."

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