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Leggett & Platt swings its way to district tournament berth

Entering the freshman league tournament as the No. 4 seed, Leggett & Platt needed to put together a great run in order to compete for the league title and qualify for the district tournament to be held in Ennis next month.
Leggett & Platt (LP) defeated No. 2 seed Citizen’s National Bank (CNB) 9-8 on Tuesday, but it would need to duplicate the win Friday to reach the title game against RP Electrical and secure that district berth. Thanks to some outstanding hitting, a fast start and a strong finish, LP emerged with the 11-8 victory it desired.
“Our hitting has really picked up in the playoffs,” said LP coach Barry Cox.
“In our last at bat [tied 6-6], I told the girls we needed two runs to win and they gave me five. They stepped up and came out on top. We want to win the league championship [on Saturday], but it’s also great to qualify for district.”
“I’m really proud of the girls,” said CNB coach Michael Escobar.
“They gave everything they had, but you can’t win them all. I congratulate [LP] for playing a good game.”
In the four-inning contest, LP scored nine of its 11 runs in the first and fourth innings combined. Meanwhile, CNB scored two runs in every inning. LP connected on 10 of the game’s 12 hits and committed fewer errors (5-4).
Jordyn Seaboalt led the LP offense with a triple, a double and a single. Jada Cox (homer, single, two RBIs) and Arlandria Harris (double, single) also had multi-hit games.
Other offensive contributors included Bailee Ervin (triple), Nikel Perkins (single), Cassandra Casanova (single), Syntaya Johnson (RBI groundout) and Haley Pleiner (RBI groundout). Cox (4 IP, 4 ER, 2 H, 10 W, HBP, 8 SO) got the win in the circle.
Matty Hutyra led CNB with a two-RBI single as Alysia Garcia singled. Kayla Weeks and Vanessa Santos each contributed an RBI to the cause. Hutyra (4 IP, 4 ER, 10 H, 5 W, 5 SO) went the distance in the circle.
Seaboalt gave her team an offensive spark that lasted all night, opening the game with a ground triple down the left-field line. After a Johnson RBI groundout, LP pulled out to a 4-0 lead thanks to a passed ball and two errors. CNB third baseman Macie Tapia did prevent further damage with the bases loaded as she snagged a grounder and tagged a passing runner.
“We got off to a great start and I was just hoping we could keep [CNB] from ever taking the lead,” Cox said.
“Jordyn opened the game with a big triple to fire up our team. She’s had a great season at the plate. Syntaya plays anywhere we need her and can come through as a hitter.”
“Macie has been a key player for us all year,” Escobar said.
Beyond a Garcia single to left field, CNB capitalized on walks to pull within 4-2 in the bottom of the inning. Though Weeks and Santos each notched RBIs with bases-loaded walks, Cox struck out three batters in the inning – including two with the bags packed.
“Alysia is an awesome player and I expect to watch her have a lot of success in the future,” Escobar said.
“Those two strikeouts with the bases loaded were huge for us to keep the early lead,” the LP coach said.
While Hutyra didn’t walk anybody over the last three innings after some troubles in the first, the LP offense was zoned in. Harris hit a one-out double up the middle in the second and Seaboalt followed with a double of her own, but CNB left fielder Weeks made an outstanding throw home to get Harris at the plate with the help of catcher Garcia. Still, Seaboalt made it 5-2 on a passed ball and Cox singled to third before Hutyra’s second strikeout.
“[LP] definitely had some hot bats tonight, but Matty is a great pitcher and she has a bright future ahead,” Escobar said.
“Kayla usually plays third base, but I put her in left because I knew she had a [strong] arm and [LP’s] hitters would be pulling the ball. I haven’t seen another outfielder throw somebody out at the plate like that.”
“Arlandria made good contact tonight and helped our offense get rolling,” Cox said.
When two of CNB’s first three batters reached base in the bottom of the inning, Hutyra took advantage with a two-RBI single to right for a 5-4 game. Third baseman Perkins ended the threat, however, speeding to track down a foul popup and doubling off a baserunner with the help of second baseman Ervin.
“That was a big hit from Matty with runners on to pull us close,” Escobar said.
“Nikel made an excellent catch on the run and then knew to throw to second for the double play,” Cox said.
“It was good to see her alert over there and you need big plays like that in a tight game.”
Like her teammate did to begin the evening, Ervin opened the LP third with a triple down the right-field line. Though Hutyra and Garcia ensured outs came swiftly from there, Pleiner’s RBI groundout put her team up 6-4.
“Bailee is our veteran and that triple was big with [CNB] closing the gap on us,” Cox said.
“She came through. Haley stepped up as a young player to bring in a run.”
A pair of errors and a Santos RBI groundout enabled CNB to tie things up at 6-6 in the bottom of the third, but Cox quietly continued to rack up strikeouts with a couple more.
“Vanessa really improved this season,” Escobar said.
Perkins and Casanova singled early in the LP fourth while a run came in on an error, but Hutyra didn’t take long to register a pair of strikeouts either. The next three at bats proved to be the difference in the game – Harris singled up the middle, Seaboalt singled to left and Cox blasted a two-run homer to the fence in left. Factor in a passed ball and an error; LP had a commanding 11-6 lead while CNB was down to its last three outs.
“Cassandra is quiet, but she’s a good player who can help wherever you need her,” Cox said.
“Jada really got a hold of the ball on that homer. Between her hitting and pitching, she got the game ball.”
A strikeout and a fielded groundout from Cox in the CNB fourth immediately brought the home team to its last out of the season, but CNB didn’t throw in the towel. Taking advantage of some walks, an error and a Weeks RBI fielder’s choice, CNB pulled within 11-8. With the bases loaded, however, Cox could see the finish line and dug down for her eighth strikeout to reserve a spot in the district tourney.
“There was a lot of pressure at the end of the game and we did well to battle after those two quick outs,” Escobar said.
“Jada didn’t really want to pitch, but I told her we needed her to get it done,” the LP coach said.
“She got some big strikeouts and did an excellent job. I couldn’t be any prouder of this team. These girls can always say they were one of the first Ennis teams to go to the district tournament, which is special.”

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Posted by on Jun 23 2008. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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