DCHS rolling at state tournament

Published 10:30 pm Thursday, May 19, 2011

Whitney Denson celebrates with teammates after a 9-3 win over Haleyville. -- Chris Wasson

MONTGOMERY — It took an inning for the Dallas County Lady Hornets to shake the nerves of their first state tournament game.

When they did, they shook them off in a big way, racking up 12 hits in a 9-3 rout of Haleyville High School.

“I think we started nervous,” Dallas County coach Ed Miller said. “By the third inning we started to get in a rhythm both offensively and defensively. When we did that everyone started hitting everything.”

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The Lady Hornets fell behind in the first inning when Haleyville’s Lacey Burleson singled then stole second base and Perri Gilbert stuck out but reached base on a passed ball. After getting a full count, Sydney Riser had a two-out single to drive in Burleson and Gilbert.

The Lady Hornets went down in order in the bottom of the first inning, but in the second inning Cassie Daniels led off with a home run to give Dallas County momentum. Ilicia Stewart followed with a single and pitches hit both Deborah Cunningham and Jade Johnson, who had to come out of the game and was replaced by Brianna Atkinson. An error on the shortstop allowed Stewart to score and Whitney Denson drove in Cunningham and Atkinson with a single.

With the 4-2 lead the Lady Hornets didn’t let up. The next inning Daniels again led off the inning with a hit and courtesy runner Casey Bagget scored on a Ciera Ingram single to push the lead to 5-2 with three innings to play.

The Lady Lions tried to get tahe run back in the top of the fourth inning and threatened to tie the game with two outs in the top of the sixth.

Haleyville had runners on second and third with clean-up hitter Gilbert up to bat, but Daniels was able to get a big strikeout to get out of the trouble.

The next inning, after back-to-back hits by Denson and Kendall Veach and a walk to Daniels, Stewart stepped up to the plate and hit a rocket over the left-centerfield fence driving in all four runs and blowing the game open.

“I didn’t even know,” Stewart said. “I thought it was a pop-up. It just kept going though.”

In game two, the Lady Hornets took on Straughn High School and were able to defeat the Lady Tigers 3-0.

“We played much better defensively this game,” Miller said. “Then we got key hits when we needed them. We would get the leadoff batter on and bunt them over. Then drive them in. It was just like we worked on this week.”

The Lady Hornets will play game three of the tournament Friday at 9 a.m. against Alabama Christian Academy.

The two teams faced off earlier this year and Dallas County was able to come out on top 6-0.