Town Crier Sports Staff
Manila scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning without the benefit of a hit and went on to capture the 3A-3 District Tournament Championship with a 6-4 win over Brookland Tuesday afternoon, ensuring the Lady Lions of their first ever regional tournament berth.
The regular season champion Lady Lions watched the underdog Lady Bearcats battle back from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game heading into the pivotal sixth inning. Manila started their winning rally when Heather Dozhier and Leigha Woody began the inning with back to back walks. A wild pitch by Brookland starter Ginny Nelms advanced both runners into scoring position. Colleen Kemp gave Manila the lead with a sacrifice fly, scoring Dozhier from third base. Nelms retired Michele Daniel for the second out but Katie Donner drew the third walk of the inning to put runners on the corners. Manila pulled off a double steal with Woody racing home from third base, giving the Lady Lions a two-run lead, 6-4.
Winning pitcher Kimberly Wise set the Lady Bearcats down in order in the top of the seventh, giving Manila their first District Tournament Championship in softball.
"I give a lot of credit to Brookland, who came in here as the seventh seed and worked their way to the finals, with a chance to beat us," said Manila Coach Toby Doke. "I told the girls there would be games like this and challenged them to respond, and they did. They did what it took to win. Our girls played hard and found a way to win. We kind of rolled the dice on Colleen Kemp's sacrifice fly, which wasn't very deep. But Brookland's shortstop was racing toward the outfield and I knew she would have to stop, turn, and throw, and I felt it was worth the risk. It really paid off."
Manila scored four runs in the first inning to take an early 4-0 lead. Katie Donner started the rally with an infield single and Kimberly Wise and Katie Veach reached base on a walk and a hit batsman to load the bases. Nelms walked Jonna Dodd to force in the game's first run and Brooke Hill followed with an RBI grounder, scoring Wise. Heather Dozhier made the score 3-0, grounding into a force out as Veach scampered home from third. Leigha Woody capped off the four run inning with another RBI grounder, scoring Dodd.
Brookland chipped away at the lead, scoring single runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings, setting the stage for Manila's winning rally in the sixth inning.
Kimberly Wise picked up the win to improve to 21-6 on the season. The freshman righthander went seven innings, allowing seven hits and three earned runs while striking out six.
Brooke Hill led Manila at the plate with a pair of singles and an RBI while Heather Dozhier, Jonna Dodd and Leigha Woody all had singles and RBIs. Katie Donner had a single and scored a run while Colleen Kemp and Michele Daniel also added base hits. Wise, Donner, Dozhier, and Katie Veach all scored one run apiece while Kristen Painter crossed the plate twice.
Nelms worked five innings and took the loss for the Lady Bearcats.
Manila advanced to the finals with a 7-4 victory over Harrisburg Monday afternoon at Brookland.
Kimberly Wise picked up the win, pitching a complete game. Wise struck out 10 while scattering 11 hits and giving up four runs. The freshman also had a pair of base hits, drove in two runs, swiped two bases and scored twice.
Heather Dozhier had a two-run single and scored a run while Jonna Dodd and Leigha Woody also had base hits. Katie Donner stole four bases and scored three times. Katie Veach had a pair of RBIs while Kristen Painter scored once.
Harrisburg took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning and went up 2-0 with another run in the third. Manila tied the score with two runs in the bottom of the third and used a four run fifth inning to take a 6-2 lead. Both teams scored runs in the sixth, making the score 7-3. The Lady Hornets scored one more run in the seventh, but could get no closer as the Lady Lions advanced to the finals.