Verbena outlasts Thorsby in extra innings

Published 1:43 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

Verbena High School’s softball team managed to avoid the comeback bid by Thorsby High School at home on March 7 to hold on for a 7-6 win in extra innings.

Verbena built a 6-2 lead going into the sixth inning, but two runs in the sixth and seventh innings by Thorsby sent the game to extras. In extras, teams get a runner at second base to start the inning. Thorsby could not score in the top half of the eighth inning, but Verbena’s Kiara Ray advanced on two passed balls from second base to score the winning run for Verbena.

“We are proud of how the girls responded,” Verbena coach Geoffery Lockhart said.

Thorsby got on the board first with two runs in the first inning on a two-RBI double by Braelyn Whitfield. Verbena scored a run in their half of the first inning on an RBI double from Meagan Shiver. Jaycee Quinn gave Verbena the lead in the second inning with a two-RBI single. Quinn was 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBIs.

Quinn also pitched a complete game for Verbena going all eight innings giving up eight hits, six runs (four earned) and struck out 18 hitters.

“I think we did well today, and Jaycee pitched an outstanding game,” Lockhart said. “We just have to work on base running a little bit, but I think we did well (today).”

Thorsby threw two pitchers, Sumer Powell and Jazlene Alfaro, who have limited varsity pitching on their resumes in hopes of saving their ace pitcher Makinley Turner for the county tournament from March 9-11.

Verbena got after the two pitchers in the third and fourth innings doubling their lead to 6-2.

“Two new pitchers in the varsity realm of things today, and I think they did a great job,” Thorsby coach Holly Matson said. “We just did not come out with our bats today. If we would have come out and hit the ball, it would have been a different ball game.”

However, Thorsby’s bats did wake up late with Rylee Hadder knocking in a run and the Rebels adding another run in the sixth inning on a passed ball to make it 6-4 with three outs to work with.

In the seventh inning, Brooklyn Reeser started the inning with a triple, and Brinley Giambrone got on due to an error to set up Turner with two runners on and no outs. Turner laced a single into right field to tie the game in the ensuing at bat.

Reeser was 2-for-4 and Turner was 2-for-2 with two RBIs.

Matson put Turner into the game in the eighth inning to try and stifle the Verbena offense, but two passed balls advanced Ray to score the winning run. Turner struck out three hitters in just one and one-third innings pitched.

“Our hopes are high, and our expectations are high, but this is going to be a different year for us,” Matson said. “I have faith in this group, and if they will just build their own confidence and feel confident in themselves, they can make some things happen.”

Verbena and Thorsby face each other again in pool play of the 2023 Chilton County Softball Tournament on March 9 at 5:30 p.m. at Isabella High School.

“Today gives us a lot of confidence going into (the county tournament), and it is a huge win for us,” Lockhart said. “When they brought in Makinley (Turner) at the end, we knew what was coming. To come out with a win is a huge confidence booster.”

Verbena takes on Maplesville High School in pool play on March 9 at 4 p.m., and Thorsby faces Maplesville at 7 p.m. to finish pool A play.