As Game 2 of Wednesday’s Class AAAA state softball playoff opener entered the bottom of the third inning, Tiffany Sellers was feeling fairly relaxed.The senior had shut out visiting Lee County in Game 1, and she and her Evans teammates led the nightcap 8-0.
Minutes later, though, Sellers found herself back in the circle, relieving senior Brooke Sarver with a two-run lead.“You come in in a tight situation, and you’ve got to know what to do,” she said. “… You just have to lay it out here. This is it, do or die, especially being the first round of the state playoffs.”
Sellers got out of the jam, just as she had done twice in the opener, and the Knights hit their way to a 14-6 victory by run rule in five innings after a 4-0 win in Game 1.Evans (24-9) advances to the second round of the state playoffs to face either Lovejoy or Northgate.
The opener saw the Knights get on the board in the second inning. Elyssa Melton’s RBI single plated Taylor McChesney, and Lexi Dodgen scored on the play on a throwing error.Evans got another run in the fourth when Kristyna Vaughn stole home after Dodgen gave herself up on a caught stealing.
Vaughn, a senior, capped the scoring on a sixth-inning homer.Erin Callaway started Game 2 for the Trojans (15-14), just as she had done in Game 1.This time, the Knights got to her early. They scored four times in the second, an inning punctuated by a long, two-run homer down the right-field line by left-handed batter Alexis Schlein.
Marylen Kennedy relieved Callaway during the inning.In the third, Sellers reached on an error, then a Rebecca Olson double chased Kennedy in favor of Callaway, who returned and pitched the rest of the contest.Evans made it another four-run inning, as Schlein again came up big with a two-run double.
“I guess I was (in the zone),” said the sophomore, who finished the second game 3 for 3 with a home run, two doubles, six RBI and two runs.
Lee County, the home team for Game 2, rallied for six runs in the third. The Trojans pounded five consecutive hits, and eight consecutive batters reached base.
Evans responded with a six-run fifth that included doubles by Vaughn, McChesney and Olson.Olson’s double, off the left-center field wall, came with the bases loaded and cleared the bases. She missed a grand slam by inches.