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Lady Devils rebound with win

By By Matthew Nascone
The 2008 season has been a year of extremes so far for the Escambia County High School Lady Blue Devils.
They were defeated 12-2 in their first game of the season in the first round of the softball Border War against Northview Feb. 19. Their next game was canceled because of bad weather. Then they took it to the W.S. Neal Lady Eagles Feb. 26 to the tune of 11-1.
The star of the five-inning, mercy rule shortened game Tuesday was junior pitcher Raven Culliver, according to ECHS head coach William Casaday.
"We gave the game ball to Raven because she had such a great all-around game," Casaday said. "She was great for us."
On the mound, Culliver pitched a complete game, allowed one run and struck out nine of the 15 batters she faced. At the plate, she went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and the game-ending hit, an RBI double.
ECHS opened the game with one run in the first inning, one in the second and three in the third for a 5-1 lead. They did not score in the fourth inning, but scored six runs in the fifth inning for the win.
Sophomore left fielder Michaela Norman was also 3-for-4 at the plate and had four RBIs, three stolen bases and three runs scored.
"Michaela did a lot of good at the plate for us," Casaday said. "She definitely got us charged and she helped everyone focus."
Junior center fielder Courtney English was 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs and two runs scored. Sophomore second baseman Minikia Smith scored two runs and junior shortstop Latesha Lee, junior third baseman Ashleigh Taylor, sophomore right fielder Andrea Jackson and freshman first baseman Tieka North each scored one run.
Excel 9 Lady Blue Devils 2
Culliver again went 3-for-4 at the plate, but only had one strikeout on the mound and allowed nine runs to Excel High School in the Lady Devils' 9-2 loss Feb. 28.
"The main thing we need to work on is getting better in the early innings," Casaday said. "We do good in the middle innings, but we need to do better in those first couple of innings."
North was 2-for-3 at the plate with one RBI.
The Lady Devils scored one run in the fifth inning and one in the sixth, but could not overcome the deficit for a win.
Up next for the Lady Devils is a game against Hillcrest March 7 in Atmore. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. for the JV game and 5:30 p.m. for the varsity.