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PREP SOFTBALL Columbiana rallies in 7th inning



Published: Tue, April 12, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Clippers defeated United 4-3 in a battle of unbeaten teams.

COLUMBIANA -- One coach called it good luck and the other called it bad luck. The coach who considered it good luck still has an unbeaten team, while the one who claimed misfortune has a team that suffered its first loss.

Using an error to its advantage, Columbiana High rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning Monday, scoring a pair of runs to edge United, 4-3, in a Tri-County League softball game.

Columbiana improved to 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the TCL, while the Eagles fell to 8-1, 3-1.

Down to their last out, the Clippers got an RBI double from Jeni Fast to score Jessica Cupp with the game-tying run. It was Fast's second run-producing double; she also had a single and a stolen base, and she reached base four times.

With Fast on second, it looked like United pitcher Mandy Foster forced extra innings when she got Cara Hardenbrook to pop up. The Eagles couldn't catch the ball, however, and Fast came home with the wining run.

"A little luck helps," said Clippers coach Bonnie Wilkinson, "but we'll take it no matter how we get it. United is going for their fifth straight TCL championship and we've shared two of those. Right now our girls want it as bad as anyone."

Added United coach Jan Sheets: "It was a tough one. Today that's just the way the cards fell. We were 8-0 going in and I think the law of averages may have caught up with us as well."

Final innings

United led 3-2 in the sixth inning when Chelsea Sheets doubled and was driven home by Ashley Urb. Urb's hit came after Clippers starter Kristina Davidson appeared to retire the side on an easy play in foul territory.

Urb got a second chance, however, and made the most of it.

Sheets' double was the lone extra base hit for United as Davidson (4-0) pitched around trouble, scattering nine hits.

Foster, meanwhile gave up only six hits in suffering her first loss after seven straight wins.

"Usually we hit a little better," said Sheets, "but today [Davidson] did a good job of keeping us off balance."

"In the end it all came out good," said Wilkinson. "We made some physical and mental mistakes but we hung tough."

Tierney Steiginga also doubled for Columbiana.




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