In a rematch of last year’s title game, Pisgah was able to turn the tide against Saks in the second round of the Class 3A state tournament winner’s bracket.
Led by pitcher Megan Smith’s 15 strikeouts, Pisgah (44-7-2) was able to defeat defending-champion Saks 1-0 to advance and play Madison Academy (36-18) at 10:30 a.m. today.
“Just two quality teams giving all they got and we just got the one run we needed,” Pisgah coach Billy Duncan said. “We just made plays when we had to.”
The game-changing play came in the fourth inning when the Eagle’s Lillie McCrary hit a triple and was able to score on an error. It was all Pisgah needed to get past the Saks hurdle that ruined its chances of repeating as champions last season.
“I think we came back with great focus knowing we had to battle the same team that beat us twice last year,” Duncan said. “Something about this team, I can’t put my finger on it, just a special bunch of kids.”
Pisgah has a chance to win its third game this season against Madison Academy in the third round of the winners bracket. The Eagles defeated the Mustangs once in a midseason tournament and once in the regional finals.
But the Mustangs couldn’t care less about their previous troubles against Pisgah.
“We can play with them,” Madison Academy coach Bronson Patterson said. “It’ll be OK. Nothing to lose, that’s kind of our motto this year. We’re playing in the last day of the year, and that’s a big accomplishment.”
The Mustangs are enjoying the moment after being bounced in two games from last year’s tournament. Madison Academy defeated Good Hope 3-0 to advance to round three.
Katie Clarke led the way with an 11 strikeout performance. She also went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
The Mustangs returned their entire squad from last season. With a team a year wiser, Patterson said his team’s experience has been the difference this season.
“These girls are gritty,” Patterson said. “They’ve got heart, they want it. They’re not a bunch of All-Stars, but they step up when it counts.”