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Saturday, May 28, 2016
Pinellas Sports

SOFTBALL: Late comeback pushes C-Side past PHU

CLEARWATER - The battle between Pinellas County's top teams lived up to expectations Monday afternoon in Clearwater. Faced with a 4-1 deficit through 4 1/2 innings, Countryside scored five unanswered runs to come back and beat rival Palm Harbor University. The Cougars (20-2) tied the game at 4-4 in the fifth when first baseman Keeley Mayers' groundout to second drove in Samantha Sharpe from third. Sharpe put herself in scoring position by hammering a line-drive triple over PHU right fielder Katie Flanagan's head that scored Sommer Pollard and Hailee Keisling. After pitcher Alyssa Queen retired PHU in order in the sixth, the Cougars bats got back to work to produce the game-winning runs in the home half.
Countryside loaded the bases with two outs and Mayers back at the plate in a critical situation. The sophomore fell behind 0-2 but managed to shoot a two-run base hit into right to give the Cougars a 6-4 lead. “I'm proud of them for fighting back and not giving up and believing in themselves that they could actually do it,” said Countryside coach Kaylyn Bayly. “Keeley, Sam Sharpe in the earlier inning; it's different kids all the time and that's a good thing.” The Cougars dug themselves into a 3-0 hole in the third inning when a throwing error sparked a Hurricanes rally. PHU center fielder Torey Scott started that sequence off by rolling a grounder to short with runners at second and third and one down. Rather than surrender the run and going to first, C-Side got PHU's Flanagan in a rundown between third and home. One of those throws sailed high and allowed Flanagan to score. Logyn Lilley followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to center and Jessica Adams' infield base hit plated Scott. “We just lost focus there looking at other things, talking to other people,” Bayly said of the rough inning. “They know that's not what they do and they just had to refocus themselves and understand that you can't take any breaks. If you give somebody an inch they'll take a mile.” PHU gave one of those runs back in the fourth when a two-out infield pop up with Kelsie Sanchez at second resulted in an error that allowed Sanchez to score easily. The Hurricanes paid back starter Rachel Taylor for that mishap with a Lilley RBI single in the fifth to go back up 4-1. The Hurricanes paid back starter Rachel Taylor for that mishap with a Lilley RBI single in the fifth to go back up 4-1. After that point, though, it was all Countryside. The Cougars lost both games against PHU last year by a combined score of 18-3. “They're an outstanding hitting team, they've got two pitchers they can throw at you and we knew it was going to be a battle,” Bayly said facing the Hurricanes. PHU attempted to mount a two-out comeback in the seventh with Moriah Connolly reaching third, but Queen successfully got Scott to ground out to first. PHU will look to regroup tomorrow night at Seminole High, while Countryside also goes on the road Tuesday, traveling to Tarpon Springs. BOX SCORE: PHU - 003 010 0 --- 4-7-1
CS - 000 132 x --- 6-9-1 WP – Alyssa Queen (11-1)
LP – Logyn Lilley or (727) 815-1071