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Lady Wolves capture Region 23 crown

CLINTON — The Co-Lin Lady Wolves captured the Region 23Softball Tournament Sunday afternoon at the Traceway Park. Co-Lineliminated Hinds 3-1 in the championship game.

Hinds (34-20) defeated Gulf Coast 5-4 in an early game to faceCo-Lin for the championship.

Co-Lin (31-10) is ranked No. 8 nationally and advances to theNJCAA National Tournament in Norman, Illinois, beginning Thursday,May 15.

This is the second time in three years the Lady Wolves have onthe Region 23 crown and advanced to the nationals.

Hinds took a 1-0 lead over Co-Lin in the first inning. The LadyWolves came back to score a run each in the fourth, fifth and sixthinnings to secure the championship.

“Winning the State Tournament was big but winning the Regionalearned us a ticket to Illinois to the Nationals,” said Co-Lin headcoach Allen Kent. “We were not satisfied with just winning State.I’m really proud of the girls for digging in and finishing strong.We are riding a 12-game winning streak and have won 19 of our last21 games. We had outstanding crowd support; we have some reallydevoted fans.”

Hinds struck for an unearned run in the first inning and held onuntil the fourth.

Co-Lin sophomore second baseman Kayla Crochet hit a one out solohome run to tie the score at 1-1.

In the bottom of the fifth, Meleah Brown drew one out walk andadvanced to third on Candance Avants’ bunt single. Emily Langleyfollowed with a sacrifice fly to left field to drive in Brown for a2-1 advantage.

The Lady Wolves got an insurance run in the sixth as sophomoreshortstop Ashley Sykes hit a towering solo homer for a 3-1lead.

Sophomore pitcher Becca Bailey picked up the win, going seveninnings. Bailey gave up four hits, struck out nine batters whileissuing no walks and one unearned run. She improved her record to18-4, including 6-0 in the State and Regional Tournaments.

“Becca came through with another clutch outing for us,” saidKent. “We were concerned about her knee after Saturday’s games(torn ACL). She got stim treatment on it Saturday night and ithelped a good bit.

“Becca gives us a chance every time she goes to the circle,”continued Kent. “We played pretty good defense behind her”

First baseman Rebecca Rousseau came up with a huge rally killingplay as she jumped on a suicide squeeze bunt and fired home tocatcher Missy Paulina to a close up. Third baseman Meleah Brownmade a nice running catch on a shallow pop up down the left fieldfence. Left fielder Candace Avants made a diving catch with oneout.”

Crochet homered and singled. Adding support with singles werePaulina, Bailey and Devon Welch.

Assistant coaches Johnny Williams and Duane Burt were a big partof our success.

“We are going to take a few days off, recover and prepare forfinal exams beginning Thursday.”