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Batting woes, defense cost Union in 1A

By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
Nov. 1, 2002
JACKSON For most of the 2002 slow-pitch softball season, Union's bats have made up for the Lady Jackets' defensive shortcomings. That wouldn't be the case Thursday as Ingomar sandwiched a pair of 13-5 wins around a 6-2 loss to Union to claim the Class 1A state championship at the V.A. Fields.
In winning six of their first seven playoff games, the Lady Jackets averaged 10.4 runs and 14.9 hits. The offense dried up against Ingomar as Union had a .283 team batting average for the day. Two players went hitless in double-digit at-bats. Factor in 13 errors and the outcome was obvious.
In the series-deciding third game, Union jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two-and-a-half innings with Tiffany Thomas driving in two runs.
A fly ball that was played into a triple in right-center in the bottom of the third scored three Ingomar runs as Amber Gilliam cruised into third base. Gilliam, a senior, had 15 points in a 55-36 basketball win over Blue Mountain on Monday. A single by Anna Kidd tied the game at 4-4.
Union took a 5-4 lead in the top of the fifth as Marley Smith's fly ball to shallow right field went for two bases. Smith then scored on a single by Thomas.
Ingomar went back up with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Gilliam and Kidd had RBI-singles with an error in right field plating another run.
The Lady Falcons padded their 7-5 lead with six runs in the bottom of the sixth. Devin Swords had a two-run triple to left field. Winning pitcher Brittney Akins (27-7) and Kelly Williamson followed with RBI-doubles.
Kidd and Jessica Seeger were both 3-for-3 for Ingomar, which finished 29-8. Lauren White and Morgan Breland were both 2-for-3 for Union, 30-8. Madison Brantley (21-6) got the loss.
The state title was Ingomar's second. The Lady Falcons also won in 1996.
Union bounced back from the 13-5 loss in the opener to pull even with a 6-2 victory in Game Two. The Lady Jackets scored twice in the top of the first inning. Smith singled and scored on a triple to right-center by White, who then crossed the plate on a single by Thomas.
Union went up 6-0 with four runs in the top of the second. Brantley, Amechia Hickmon, and Lindsay Walker opened the frame with singles. Breland's sacrifice fly scored courtesy runner Brittany Germany. Another run came home when Morgan Milling's fly ball was dropped in right-center. Smith singled in the last two runs.
Ingomar got one run in the bottom of the fourth on a solo homer over the 250-foot fence by Seeger. Seeger doubled in the sixth and circled the bases after Union left fielder Loren Kennedy collided with the fence.
White went 3-for-3 for Union. Smith, Hickmon, and Walker each had two hits. Brantley got the win.
Seeger had two of Ingomar's six hits. Akins took the loss.
Ingomar outhit Union 16-8 in winning the opener. The Lady Falcons snapped a 1-1 tie in the top of the third as they batted around and scored six runs. The big blow was a bases-loaded triple by Beth Short.
Union closed to within 8-4 with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Two scored when Kennedy's grounder to second base was booted. Breland had an RBI-single for the other run.
An RBI-single by Walker cut the gap to 8-5 in the sixth, but the Lady Falcons racked up five runs in the top of the seventh. Seeger had an RBI-triple, Kidd had an RBI-single, Short added an RBI-double, and Swords had a sacrifice fly.
Smith and Thomas both had two hits for Union. Brantley got the loss.
Seeger and Gilliam both had three hits for Ingomar with Williamson, Kidd, Short, and Jennifer Edwards adding two hits apiece. Akins got the win.