BA takes game one of MAIS 5A softball series at Parklane

Published 10:09 am Thursday, October 5, 2023

Good things usually happen in softball when you get the leadoff batter of an inning aboard. That old axiom held true for Brookhaven Academy on Wednesday in the opening game of their MAIS 5A State Championship Series with Parklane Academy.

The Cougars (30-7-1) got runners on to start the third and fourth innings and scored all the runs they needed after that to get a 5-1 win over the Pioneers (29-6) on Parklane’s home field.

Brookhaven Academy will look to clinch its third straight MAIS 5A title when game two of the 3-game series begins Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Brookhaven.

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Sophomore Alayna Daigle got on via a walk to start the top of the third inning for BA. She then moved up to second on a bunt by Bailey Parks.

Moving runners up and being opportunistic on the base paths was one of the keys that Brookhaven Academy coach Lisa Covington gave before the teams met in the championship series. BA and Parklane had played each other six times coming into Wednesday and the series was split 3-3 with the Pioneers winning 6-2 on Monday in Magee in 5A tournament bracket play.

Daigle and Parks then scored on a two-run single by junior Annaston Poole to give the Cougars a lead they’d never surrender.

Down 2-0, Parklane got its leadoff runner on to start the third when she was hit by a pitch. With runners on second and third, Brookhaven Academy got the kind of defensive play that changes a game when left fielder Ainslee Jergins made a catch for an out and then alertly got the ball to third baseman Emme Barrett to catch a Parklane runner that had failed to tag up. 

The momentum stayed with the Cougars as junior pitcher Ann Elise Duncan began the top of the fourth inning with a single to get on. She was replaced on the basepaths by courtesy runner Caroline Case.

Jergins got aboard later in the inning via a walk and then she and Case both scored when Parks singled to left field. 

Again, BA executed some clutch small ball by bunting with two runners on to fill the bases. The inning ended with a double play by Parklane, but not before Daigle crossed the plate to stake the Cougars to a 5-0 lead.

Parklane ended up pulling starting pitcher Phiffer Crawford during the fourth and replacing her with Ashleigh Reed Sharp. 

Parklane got one run back in the bottom of the fifth as BA had its lone error of the night in that inning. In the pitching circle, Duncan scattered five hits and gave up one unearned run. She walked three and struck out five.

For Parklane, Crawford gave up four hits and Sharp gave up four hits as well. Crawford gave up five earned runs while striking out three and walking three. Sharp had one strike out in 3.2 innings of work.

Poole went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs to lead the Cougar offense. Parks, the leadoff batter in the BA order, had two hits and two RBIs. Duncan and Miriam Wallace both had a single apiece while Morgan Chemin hit a double for Brookhaven.

If a third game is needed, it will be played Saturday at Parklane.