Lady Cougars win playoff, headed to Montgomery

Published 12:21 am Wednesday, May 2, 2007

By By Matthew Nascone
Getting to the playoffs is any team's goal at the beginning of the season and the Escambia Academy Lady Cougars have accomplished that goal after a trying season.
The Lady Cougars opened the season with a win, but struggled to get many wins until the end of the season and finished the regular season with a 7-17 record. But the key statistic was their 3-3 record in AISA Class 2A Area 1, Region 1 play. This record put them in a tie with Wilcox Academy for the final playoff spot.
The Lady Cougars took care of business April 26, taking Wilcox down 7-6 in extra innings.
"Both teams played good defense and we got hits when we needed them," EA head coach Keri Payne said.
The big hit was a game-winning single by Kayleigh Miller with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the eighth inning. Miller cranked what would have been a triple and cleared the bases, but the game was over when the first runner crossed the plate and the Lady Cougars had punched their ticket into the playoffs.
"The girls are excited to be in the playoffs," Payne said. "They did not expect to make it this far and now we are going to try and win a game or two. I am proud of these girls for making it this far."
The game was a back-and-forth battle the whole way through with Wilcox opening the scoring in the first inning with two runs. EA struck back with one run in the bottom of the inning.
Wilcox scored one run in each of the second and third innings, but the Lady Cougars scored two in each of those innings for a 5-4 lead after three innings. EA added to the lead in the fourth with one run, but Wilcox chipped away and tied the game with one run in each of the fifth and sixth innings.
Neither team scored in the seventh and the game went to an extra frame, when Miller roped her game-winning hit.
She finished the game with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate with one RBI. Taylor Helton was 3-for-3 with a double and one RBI. Niki Bryan was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Rachel Ellis took the mound for EA and pitched the whole game for the victory.
The Lady Cougars now travel to Montgomery for the state tournament May 4-5. Their first game is Friday at 10 a.m. and their opponent had not been determined as of press time.

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