Manila Lady Lions, district champs
Manila scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to rally back from a two-run deficit, and went on to defeat Rivercrest 7-5 in the finals of the 3A-3 district softball tournament Monday afternoon, May 2, at Manila. The win gave the Lady Lions the district title and a number one seed in the 3A regional tournament.
Senior shortstop Lauren Woody had a banner day both in the field and at the plate. Woody went 4-4, including a double and triple, and drove in three runs while also sparkling in the field, turning an unassisted double play plus throwing out a runner at the plate. Jordyn Wheeler picked up the win, going the distance, allowing three earned runs while scattering seven hits and striking out five on the afternoon.
Rivercrest got on the board first, scoring a pair of runs in the opening inning on a two-run double off the bat of Erin Hardin. Manila rallied in the bottom of the inning when Wheeler doubled and later scored on a two-out, two-bagger by Woody. The Lady Colts pushed their lead to 4-1, scoring two more times in the top of the third. Both runs were unearned. The Lady Lions answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. Wheeler again doubled and raced home on Woody's infield RBI single, slicing the Rivercrest lead to 4-2.
Manila's big four-run fifth was highlighted by Madison Bibbs' two-run single. The Lady Lions tacked on a pair of unearned runs and jumped ahead 6-4.
Lauren Shempert tripled for the Lady Colts and scored on a groundout as Rivercrest trimmed the Manila lead to 6-5 in the sixth, but Manila answered in their half of the inning when Ashley Rothwell hammered a double, followed by an RBI triple off the bat of Woody. The Lady Colts were unable to scratch the scoreboard in their final at bat as Manila made off with the district crown.
"It feels great, winning the district championship," said Woody. "It was my last home game, and winning today is just an amazing feeling. It's just great to be a Manila Lion."
"I feel awesome," said an elated Lady Lion Coach Craig Wheeler. "It's been a great season. We've been involved in a lot of close games lately, but we've able to fight back and win these games. These kids believe in themselves and they don't give up. I thought Lauren Woody showed up big today. She just played great. Ashley Rothwell had some big hits. Jordyn (Wheeler) battled and pitched a really good game. All the girls played great today."
Rothwell finished 2-4, including a double and a triple. The Lady Lion catcher scored twice and drove in a run. Wheeler had a 2-4 day at the plate with two doubles and two runs scored. Bibbs, Taylor Hampton and Jill Helton all had hits for Manila.