Hammond, Laurence Manning go down to wire in opener of SCISA softball title series

The emotions for both Hammond and Laurence Manning in the first game of the Class 4A SCISA softball series were wrought with highs and lows in a matter of just a few minutes.

When it all cleared, the Swampcats’ Lyza Prickelmyer threw out the potential tying run at the plate to end it in the eighth inning and give visiting Laurence Manning a 5-4 victory against the Skyhawks in the opening game of the best-of-3 state championship series. Game two is scheduled for Tuesday evening at Laurence Manning.

Prickelmyer started the game-ending double play by catching a fly ball off the bat of Eliza Spratlin. She never hesitated and fired a strike to the plate, where Hailey Truett tagged out the runner trying to tag up from third.

“My nerves were shot. It seems like it lasted for an hour. I was thinking in my head if this ball comes to me, I know I’m throwing it home,” Prickelmyer said. “It was instinct to throw home and it was game over.”

Hammond coach David Beacham briefly challenged the call, but it stood firm.

“(The umpire) just said (the catcher) was not in the way,” Beacham explained.

This is the third time these two teams have played since May 2 with Laurence Manning winning all three, including a 5-3 victory on Saturday.

Hammond (18-5) almost rallied for the win in both the seventh and eighth innings. The Swampcats (17-4) led 2-0 on a two-run single by Lily Wellborn in the third inning. It stayed that way until the Skyhawks were down to their final three outs.

Madge Miller started the rally in the seventh with a walk. Two outs later, Olivia Wiske drove home Miller with a single to make it 2-1. Wiske advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on an infield error by Laurence Manning. The Skyhawks left the potential winning run on second when Swampcats pitcher Laini Kosinski induced a ground ball to third.

The teams went to international rules, where a runner starts on second back to start the extra innings. Laurence Manning struck quickly in the top half of the eighth. A wild pitch moved Marlee Black to third, and she scored on Wellborn’s sacrifice fly. One batter later, Kayleigh Parmenter-Avins added a sacrifice fly to left. After the ball was returned to the infield, the Skyhawks threw it away, allowing Prickelmyer to score from second base.

But Hammond would not go quietly. The Skyhawks loaded the bases with one out when Ava Miller drove in one run with an infield single then a throwing error allowed the second run to score. The Skyhawks had runners at second and third with one out but the fly ball to Prickelmyer ended it.

“We were persistent,” Beacham said. “We waited for some balls to start dropping in and getting some hits when we needed. Things started happening. The girls said in the meeting, we let them control the meetings sometimes, and what they said in the meeting — we will come back (Tuesday) and capitalize on everything we learned today.”

W: Laini Kosinski. L: Grace Beacham. Hitters: LMA – Lily Wellborn 1-3, 3 RBI; Lyza Prickelmyer 2-4. H – Ava Sapp 2-4; Ava Miller 2-4, 2 RBI.