Woodland sweeps Chamblee, advances to second round
A pair of dominant, complete-game pitching performances by Woodland sophomore pitcher Lainey Baker and some timely hitting carried the Lady Cats to an opening round Class AAAAA best-of-three playoff series win at Chamblee Tuesday.
Woodland won both games of a doubleheader to take the series by scores of 2-1 and 5-1.
Baker struck out 25 in the doubleheader while scattering ten hits and six walks in the two wins.
The host Bulldogs contributed to their own demise with six errors in the two games. Both Woodland runs in the opener were unearned as were three of the five runs in the second game.
Woodland, conversely, played spotless defense in both games.
GAME 1 — WOODLAND 2, CHAMBLEE 1
Baker struck out 14 and tossed a complete-game, three-hitter in Game 1 of the series as Woodland won 2-1. She scattered three hits and five walks in her seven innings of work. Chamblee’s Lily McCord was nearly as effective in the loss.
McCord allowed only two hits and one walk in seven innings. The two Woodland runs were unearned.
Bella Carnes, who had the only Woodland hits in the opener, singled to lead off the Lady Cats’ fourth inning. She moved to third on a pair of groundouts and scored on a Lady Bulldogs’ infield error. Kendyl Hardin, who reached on that error, made it to third after a hit batsman and another Chamblee error. Hardin then scored on a wild pitch for a Wildcats' 2-0 lead.
Chamblee produced a run in the bottom of the seventh on a pair of singles and a ground out, but an outfield assist from Hannah Miller to shortstop Ansley Evans cut down an advancing base runner to end the game.
GAME TWO — WOODLAND 5, CHAMBLEE 1
Morgan Cooper (photo below) hit a one out, solo home run to left field to get Woodland on the scoreboard in Game 2 with a 1-0 lead. Kailey Baker and Hannah Miller followed with singles. Then after a walk to Cassie Jones loaded the bases, Brianna Hill lifted a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Michiah Hicks who was a courtesy runner for Baker.
Chamblee scored a run in the third inning to narrow the margin to 2-1, but the Lady Cats responded with a run in the fourth.
Kailey Baker singled again to start the Wildcats’ fourth inning. Hicks was inserted as her courtesy runner and moved to second on a Bulldogs’ error. Hill singled to load the bases and Hicks scored on a Bella Carnes groundout.
Woodland tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning. Hannah Miller reached on an error by the Bulldogs’ shortstop and scored on a two-out single by Brianna Hill. Following another Chamblee miscue and Hicks’ insertion as a runner, Morgan Bailey’s groundout drove in another run for a 5-1 Lady Cats’ lead.
Kailey Baker and Hill finished with two hits. Hill added a sacrifice fly and two RBI. Miller’s second inning single and Cooper’s home run accounted for the other Woodland hits.
Ansley Mepham had three hits for the Bulldogs including a pair of doubles and the lone Chamblee run batted in.
The losses ended the second-seeded Bulldogs’ season with a 21-8 record. Woodland, a No. 3-seed from Region 7-AAAAA, advances to the second round October 15-16 at Whitewater. Whitewater is the Region 3-AAAAA champion and swept their first round series with Bainbridge.
Woodland (21-10) needs one more playoff series win to reach the Class AAAAA state championship double-elimination tournament in Columbus October 24-26.