OFC softball Tournament: First round

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
DAILY AMERICAN REPUBLIC/Nate Fields

NAYLOR — Lexus Hagood’s batting coach taught her to think of a key word when she’s at the plate and block out everything else. Her word is contact. On Tuesday in the opening round of the Ozark Foothills Conference Tournament at Naylor, she didn’t need to make contact to win the game for her team. Hagood drew a walk-off walk to complete a 10-9 comeback win for the Tigers against Greenville. Twin Rivers looked like it had a legitimate shot at the tournament’s first upset in the first inning against Naylor. The Royals (5-6) scored four runs in the first inning to take control early. The Eagles (7-3) responded with eight runs over the next two innings and only allowed one more in a 10-5 win. The first three batters in both lineups scored runs in the first inning as offense dominated the day early on. With Naylor trailing by a run after an inning, the Eagles offense made some big plays to take the lead for good. Aribi Pruett drew a walk to move Lyndsea Moore into scoring position with one out. Shelby Sullivan and Whitney Mitchell hit back-to-back singles to even the score. Naylor scored on a couple of errors to take the lead, one it’d keep for the rest of the game. The Eagles’ defense held the Royals scoreless for three straight innings before Whitney Williams got ahold of a pitch down the middle and sent it out for a solo home run. Naylor added two insurance runs in the sixth to double up Twin Rivers, 10-5. Seventh-seeded Clearwater (7-9) scored in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead it held until the fourth inning. P.J. Gholson finally reached on a fielder’s choice to get the Redbirds in position for their first run of the night. After she moved to second on a passed ball, Kennedy Thies drove an RBI single into right field to tie the game. East Carter (12-3) eventually pulled away for a 4-1 victory to advance to the OFC Tournament semifinals.