DUBLIN — The Lady Stallions of South Columbus brought some hot bats to the second round of the state’s Class 2-A playoffs and handed West Bladen an 11-4 loss on Saturday.
The Lady Knights completed their season at 20-5.
The visitors went quietly in the top of the first inning, and West Bladen jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the home half when Laikyn Pait walked with two outs and scored all the way from first on a single by Courtney Thompson. After Thompson went to second on the throw home that was too late to get Pait, Nicole Wyatt reached on an error that allowed Thompson to score.
West Bladen then loaded the bases when Josie Ludlum and sister Alanna Ludlum were hit on consecutive pitches, but the Lady Knights couldn’t push another run across.
South Columbus exploded for six runs in the second inning, crushing a double and triple over the heads of the outfielders, as well as peppering the third-base line. Before it was all said and done, the Lady Stallions recorded six hits, worked one walk and held a 6-2 lead.
West Bladen answered with a run in the bottom of the inning when Morgan Sweeney singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Taylor Stephens and scored when Pait reached on an error to cut the deficit to 6-3.
After a scoreless third inning, South Columbus added a run in the top of the fourth thanks to a leadoff double, a walk and a West Bladen error, pushing the advantage to 7-3.
The Lady Knights put two runners on in the bottom of the fourth frame when Stephens reached on a bad-hop single, but was erased on a fielder’s choice by Pait. Thompson singled to put runners at first and second, but the effort fizzled there.
South Columbus tacked on a pair of runs in the fifth behind four singles to take a 9-3 lead, but the Lady Knights pushed across a run in the home half — though the inning started out badly. Josie Ludlum reached on a pop-fly single, but was picked off first moments later. Alanna Ludlum walked, then took second on a wild pitch and stole third base. Pinch-hitter Allison Thompson laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to bring home the run.
The Lady Stallions got that run back in the top of the sixth, then added another run in the seventh to seal the win.
“They hit the ball,” said West Bladen coach Pam Stephens. “We had a good season. We weren’t supposed to be here after losing seven seniors from last season, but we had a 20-win season and I’m proud of those girls.”
Thompson led the Lady Knights at the plate, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Wyatt, who threw 185 pitches in the first-round win over Dixon, took the loss in the circle, going five innings plus one batter, giving up 12 hits, two walks and striking out five.