BA’s Bailey Parks put one out of the yard to clinch thriller, 3-2 over Parklane

Published 11:36 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

High school softball doesn’t get much better than the matchup played at Brookhaven Academy on Monday between the host Cougars and the visitors from Parklane Academy.

The home team trailed 2-0 entering the final inning, but that all changed with one pitch.

With two runners on and one out in the bottom of the seventh, junior catcher Bailey Parks made the type of contact that leaves no doubt as she launched a 3-run home run that gave BA a heart-stopping 3-2 victory.

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Parklane pitcher Ashleigh Reed Sharp struck out 10 batters in the game. The scorers from both PA and BA had her giving up just one hit on the night, the game winner by Parks.

BA didn’t get a runner on until the fifth when Parks was hit by a pitch. She also had a 10-pitch at-bat against Sharp in the second inning which ended with a fly-out to foul territory.

“She’s got a really good screwball and a great rise-ball,” said Parks of Sharp. “My first at-bat was all about trying to get her timing down and I kept fouling balls off and getting more cuts.”

In her game winning at-bat, Parks fouled off the first pitch she saw and then took strike two looking. That second strike was right over the plate and Parks was kicking herself for not taking a cut at it.

“I knew I should have swung at that pitch, but I just let it go and got refocused,” said Parks. “The next good pitch I got, I just saw it and I hit it.”

Sophomore Annaston Poole started the inning off with a hit down the left field line that sliced fair and was scored as an error for Parklane. Then junior Kensy Covington reached on a walk that set up the heroic at-bat for Parks.

The ballpark was packed with fans of each team and other fans of softball in general as the matchup was the second of the season for the MAIS District 3-5A rivals.

In the first meeting back on Aug. 8 at Parklane, the Cougars won 5-4 in 10 innings.

BA moves to 16-2-1 on the season with the win and Parklane is now 14-4 overall.

There are likely more games left between the schools coming in the postseason as they’ll both be among the favorites in the MAIS 5A South State and State Tournaments.

Parklane won the MAIS 6A state title last season before dropping down a classification and that championship was the fourth in six years for the program led by Greg Gatlin.

The Cougars are the two-time defending 5A state champs and have just one senior on their roster for head coach Lisa Covington.

There were likely somewhere between a combined 10-15 future college softball players on the field for the two teams as coaches from Copiah-Lincoln, Southwest Mississippi and Mississippi College took in the game.

Parklane senior third baseman Georgia Gatlin Lindsey is committed to next play for Baylor University.

Parklane got on the board in the bottom of the first. Their leadoff batter got on base via a walk and then later scored on a single.

The Pioneers went up 2-0 in the third when junior catcher Isabella Coker smashed a one-run home run well over the left field fence. 

After that, Brookhaven Academy pitcher Ann Elise Duncan settled down into a rhythm that kept Parklane in check. Duncan gave up just three hits while striking out three and walking two.

BA is back at home on Thursday hosting 6A Hartfield Academy.