Robertsdale continues to stay alive

Posted 5/15/07

No-walks pitching from pitchers Jessie Weaver and Anna Shartzer and two big rallies carried Robertsdale past Theodore in a 7-2, 5-0 Sub-State Playoffs sweep Saturday on the RHS softball diamond, returning the Lady Golden Bears to the state …

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Robertsdale continues to stay alive


No-walks pitching from pitchers Jessie Weaver and Anna Shartzer and two big rallies carried Robertsdale past Theodore in a 7-2, 5-0 Sub-State Playoffs sweep Saturday on the RHS softball diamond, returning the Lady Golden Bears to the state tournament of the first time in five years.

Shartzer followed up Weaver’s first-game five-hitter with a three-hit, no-strikeouts shutout in the second game, sending the Lady Golden Bears to the 6A state tournament for the first time. The won the first three Alabama High School Athletic Association fastpitch tournaments in 1995 as a 5A school, in 1996 in the 5A-6A field and again in ‘97 in the 4A-5A event.

RHS also won at least two slow-pitch state championships in the 1990s. Robertsdale will take a 34-20 record into its first-round state playoff game in five years Thursday at 10:30 a.m. against No. 2-ranked Sparkman of northeast Alabama’s Harvest. Theodore ended the season with a 31-16 record.

Lady Golden Bears coach Steve Shartzer said he and his players “held a litle team dinner meeting last night and … we just said we wanted to make their pitchers go deep in the count, to work hard to get us out, not to be one-pitch outs. The girls did a phenomenal job of that all day today, made ‘em work and earn it.

“And then we played very good defense, especially when we needed it, and then we got two fine-pitched games.”

Weaver struck out four in the first-game win to improve to 16-11. Robertsdale answered Theodore runs in the first and third innings, blowing the game open with six two-out runs in the third on seven straight hits, four of them doubles. In the second game, the Lady Golden Bears pushed four runs across the plate in the sixth after taking a 1-0 lead in the third.

Theodore came out swinging the bats aggressively in the first game and grabbed a quick 1-0 lead on Jenna Barnes’ leadoff double, Amber Hudson’s sacrifice bunt and Jennifer Fuller’s sacrifice fly, but Weaver was pretty much in command for the rest of the game.

The Lady Bobcats regained the lead with an unearned run in the third via two errors by RHS third baseman Shartzer,

Casey Byrnes led off the RHS first with a single to left, moved to second on Shartzer’s sacrifice bunt and third on on Maeghan Waite’s long fly-out to right field after Christina Ousley walked on four straight pitches. Byrnes scored on an errant pickoff attempt by THS catcher Kendra Hill, tying the score.

After Theodore regained the lead in the top of the third, the bottom of the inning started positively for the Lady Bobcats when Anna Calloway grounded out to Fuller at shortstop, then Fuller fielded Byrnes’ bouncer that deflected off THS starting pitcher Christie Soulis’ glove and threw out Byrnes.

Soulis wasn’t as fortunate when Shartzer smashed an infield single off the Theodore pitcher’s shin. Ousley doubled Shartzer to third and Waite singled Shartzer home with the tying run.

The assault continued with Weaver’s RBI double to left, Meagan Durant’s run-scoring single to center, Kate Swinson’s double down the left field line that ended Solis’ pitching duties, and Adrienne Dunbar’s two-run double to the right-center power alley off reliever Kristian Mangham, who started the game as Theodore’s designated player.

Mangham blanked Robertsdale the rest of the way and also had a one-out double in the fourth inning, but she and Hill, who singled with two outs, were left stranded. The loss dropped Soulis’ record to 23-12.

Byrnes finished with three of the Lady Golden Bears’ 10 hits. No other Robertsdale player had more than one hit in the first game.

Dunbar’s leadoff single in the third inning, followed by Calloway’s sacrifice bunt, Byrnes’ base hit and Shartzer’s sacrifice fly to shallow center field gave Shartzer the only run she sould need in the second game to win for the 17th time in 23 decisions. Shartzer helped pad the lead with a two-run single that wrapped up the four-run sixth.

The sixth-inning rally began with Weaver’s one-out single to left. Durant grounded to THS third baseman Lauren Barnhill, who lost control of the ball as she tried to get it out of her glove for the force at second, and pinch runner Justa Volovecky and Durant were both safe.

Kate Swinson loaded the bases with a bunt single, then Dunbar and Calloway followed with RBI singles, Dunbar bouncing one up the midddle and Calloway dropping one into left field. Byrnes was then out on an infield fly rule pop-up to Barnhill, but Shartzer singled to left for the last two runs.

Ashton Hudson doubled with one out in the Theodore first but didn’t advance. Barnhill reached on a fielders choice following Weaver’s inning-opening fielding error at third in the fourth and stopped at third on Mangham’s double to right-center, but Weaver got out of the jam when Hayli Casey popped out to the RHS pitcher, who then threw out Hill for the third out after fielding her grounder.

Calloway, Dunbar and Weaver had two hits each for Robertsdale. The Lady Golden Bears collected nine hits, all of them singles, off Mangham, who struck out one and walked one and finished the season with an 8-3 record.