Late runs aid Crisp in win over Tift

Josie Bullington (center) gets a show of hands of support from teammates after crossing home plate Tuesday. Bullington had just hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning. Among those celebrating with her were Paige Hill (23), Morgen Ray (3) and Emily Henderson (13).

TIFTON - Tuesday's final softball score was 16-5 in favor of Crisp County over Tift County. This final score, however, was only part of the tale for evening.

Tift County, which trailed 7-0 after three innings, had fought back. They scored two runs on a blast by Josie Bullington in the bottom of the fourth. One frame later, Alaina Stephens on second and Bullington on first meant the tying run was at the plate.

Crisp buckled down and recorded the final out. Jo Brady hit a three-run homer in the sixth for a 9-5 game. A six-run seventh put the game out of reach.

"We came out flat," Tift head coach Taylor Barber admitted. Meagan Taylor started the contest, but gave way for Madison Smith in the third. Smith stranded two runners there without further damage, then pitched two more scoreless innings. He said Smith did a good job in the circle.

The Lady Devils began cutting into the lead shortly after. Morgen Ray hit a long double, then Bullington drove a pitch over the centerfield wall. Smith pitched a 1-2-3 fifth and Tift wasted little time picking up they left off.

Niambi Battle worked her way from an 0-2 count into a walk. She was joined on the basepaths by Alayna Davis before Emily Henderson singled up the middle to drive home Battle. Ray drove in Davis with a base hit to bring the score to 7-3.

Crisp recorded its second out when Tift attempted to score on a fielder's choice on the infield. Another infield shot by Bullington was more fruitful, resulting in an error and Ray crossing the plate. That is as close as they could get. A liner to left field was caught and the inning ended.

After Tift's rally, the Lady Cougars staged one of their own. An intentional walk and single put two runners on for Brady. She drove a pitch to the same spot as Bullington and the scoreboard now read 10-5 in the visitors' favor.

Crisp tacked on six more runs in the top of the seventh inning, the big blow being a bases-clearing triple by Ainsley Forsythe.

"I thought we did a good job staying in there," said Barber.

The Lady Devils are now 5-5 and will soon get a chance to up their standing in Region 1-AAAAAAA. They travel to Camden County Thursday for a doubleheader that begins at 4 p.m. Barber said Paige Hill and Abi Sumner will be the starting pitchers. Tift is 1-1 in region play, having split with Lowndes last week.

Tuesday's game was the first non-region contest completed by Tift since Aug. 16 and first home game since Aug. 5. Rain has limited the squad's opportunities to play.

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