Angels ‘lay down’ for 8-3 victory

 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

A coach in any sport might not be inclined to encourage the team to lay down. On Sunday, though, that strategy worked about as well as anyone could expect.

Photo by Sheila Liles

Photo by Sheila Liles

The Rockingham Angels laid down four key bunts, including two in a six-run fourth inning, to drive an 8-3 win over Montgomery County on Sunday in the second game of the Dixie Softball state tournament for 9-and-10-year-olds in Eden.

The Angels advance to play at 2 p.m. Monday against Dunn.

The Angels have now outscored their opponents 65-3 this postseason. Assistant coach Scott Frye said as the pitching faltered for the first time — and one day after a mercy rule-shortened perfect game — the bunts were, in a word, perfect.

“They were playing deep and they weren’t coming in, so we just laid ’em down,” Frye said. “Once we laid a bunt down and we saw they weren’t doing a good job covering it, our girls laid down beautiful bunts. Our pitching has kind of carried us for the most part. This is the first game in the two tournaments where our pitching has really struggled.”

Of course, the definition of struggled changes when a team chases perfection. Three Angels pitchers — Morgan Singletary, Kearston Bruce and Payton Chappell — combined to allow only one hit but issued 10 walks.

The Angels raced to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Chappell walked to lead off the inning, then scored on a double by Mattie Liles. Madison Carriker singled to drive in Liles. Montgomery County scored three times in the top of the fourth — the first time the Rockingham Angels have trailed this postseason.

The deficit didn’t shake them. The first three batters in the bottom of the fourth reached base — Kenleigh Frye singled, Allyiah Swiney bunted and reached first base safely and Jakerra Covington’s bunt loaded the bases with no outs. Chappell delivered the game’s biggest blow with a three-run triple and a 5-3 lead.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com A file photo from the district tournament in Troy.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
A file photo from the district tournament in Troy.

The Angels kept it going. Liles’ single drove in Chappell. Shayann Byrd singled to drive in Liles and advanced to third on a bunt by Kearston Bruce. Taylor Young bunted Byrd home for a five-run lead.

This game proved to be a tipping point, Frye said. The games won’t get any easier.

“Anybody we face is gonna be difficult,” Frye said. “We don’t look to have anybody that we’re going to face that’s going to be a weaker team.”

Frye said the entire coaching staff is proud of the way the team battled back despite a deficit and less-than-stellar pitching. He said he’s hopeful that Monday’s game against Dunn will allow their hitters an opportunity to “swing away.” Because that’s another strategy that works really well for the Angels.

 

 

 

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