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franklin county times

Southeast rallies for softball win over NEL

By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
October 6, 2004
Tuesday night had all the makings of another breakdown for Southeast Lauderdale.
Just as they did in a loss a day earlier, the Lady Tigers built an early lead, followed with meager offense and eventually lost the lead after a couple of bad breaks.
But Tuesday, Southeast Lauderdale did something about it.
Lucy Ruffin and Lindsey Graham hit back-to-back triples to spur a four-inning sixth for the Lady Tigers, who held off Northeast Lauderdale for a 9-7 win at Northeast Park in both teams' regular-season finale.
"There were two keys for us (Monday) night we made errors in the outfield, and we couldn't hit the ball when we had the lead. That went away for us," said Southeast Lauderdale head coach Ryan Miller. "We ended up coming back for some late runs, and we needed all those."
The Lady Tigers, who finished the regular season 19-11, were led by Ruffin, who went 4-of-5, and Graham, who was 3-of-3 with a home run, two triples and four RBIs.
Graham's home run helped Southeast Lauderdale jump out to a quick lead. After Ruffin's leadoff single in the first inning, Graham followed with a long drive into the outfield that bounced all the way to the wall. Ruffin scored easily, and Graham followed well ahead of the throw for an early 2-0 Lady Tigers lead.
It was the first of a handful of Southeast Lauderdale hits to the outfield that the Lady Trojans narrowly missed handling.
"We hit the ball well enough to win," said Northeast Lauderdale head coach Chris Harper, whose team fell to 13-15. "Our defense stunk. It's the reason we lost the game. Good teams make routine plays, and we didn't. I'm extremely disappointed."
The Lady Trojans' bats quickly got them back into the game in the bottom of the first. Shelley Odom and Megan Winborn hit one-out singles for Northeast Lauderdale, and both scored on a triple by Savannah Hall. A Jenny Simpson ground ball was enough to bring Hall home and give the Lady Trojans a 3-2 lead.
Southeast Lauderdale responded in the second inning with three more runs two on Graham's first triple for a 5-3 Lady Tigers lead. Jessica Love trimmed that lead to 5-4 in the bottom of the second on a sac fly that scored Mallory Pace.
The Lady Trojans reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fifth after Odom and Winborn led off the inning with singles. Odom scored on a Jenny Simpson single, and Winborn came home on a sac fly by Kara Hull. Winborn's run put the Lady Trojans up 6-5.
Harper said Odom and Savannah Hall, who each collected three hits, helped Northeast Lauderdale's offense keep up with the Lady Tigers.
"Those two (Odom and Hall) stepped up and hit the ball well," Harper said. "Overall, teamwise, I'm not going to complain too much. We did some good things offensively. It was the defensive plays that hurt us. You can't let singles turn into doubles and triples."
Southeast Lauderdale went ahead for good with its sixth-inning rally, which began with Ruffin's and Graham's triples. An outfielder's error allowed Graham to score, and Jessica Rose hit a two-out single to drive home Heather Ward for an 8-6 Southeast Lauderdale lead.
Heather Harper hit another two-out single in the next at-bat to score Mallari Bowen for a 9-6 lead.
Northeast Lauderdale fell short in its bid for a comeback, mustering only one more run on Hall's third hit of the night in the sixth.
"The win for us was big heading into the playoffs," Miller said. "We haven't played poorly, but we've played good competition lately and taken a few losses. It's good to get a win, especially against a cross-county rival."
Southeast Lauderdale opens the playoffs at home on Thursday against Raleigh. The Lady Trojans begin their postseason on the road against Indianola-Gentry the same day.

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