In the bottom of the sixth inning Rose Bud broke open a tie game when senior catcher Madelyn Murphree lifted a two-out, RBI single to left field.
Moments later second base player Destany Naquin nailed an RBI triple over third base and down the left field line, giving the Lady Ramblers a 3-1 cushion, which was all the run support pitcher Dana Naquin needed for a first-round victory over Genoa Central in Thursday’s opening round of the Class 3A state tournament.
“I just feel fortunate right now. This is two games in a row that we’ve battled back at the very end against a great team,” said Rose Bud Coach Matt Porter. “Somebody steps up and makes a play for us. Somebody steps up and gets a big hit for us and that’s what we needed to move on. Madelyn Murphree had two huge hits. She scored a run, had the go-ahead hit and played like a senior should play. She did a good job behind the plate and did everything I expect of her.”
The fourth-seeded Lady Dragons took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Abrie Morton led off with a triple to right center and scored on a one-out, RBI single from pitcher Bailey Flournoy. Rose Bud escaped without further harm when Brandi Saulsbury lined out to Tori Willborg, who turned a double play by throwing out Flournoy at first base from her shortstop position.
Flournoy pitched around a two-out single by Tori Lemieux in the bottom of the first inning before Dana Naquin struck out the side in the top of the second, only allowing Makayla McCoy to reach on a one-out walk.
Trailing 1-0 entering the bottom of the second, Murphree roped a one-out triple to deep right field. With two out, Misty Newcom reached on an error that allowed Murphree to score as the Lady Ramblers tied the game at 1-all but Flournoy escaped further trouble.
Genoa strung together three straight singles with two out in the top of the third, loading the bases for Brianna Martin, who Dana Naquin retired on a fly-ball to Lemieux in left field.
Flournoy worked around a one-out Willborg single and two-out Dana Naquin double in the bottom half of the third, leaving both stranded in scoring position when Sara Sartin lined out to left field as Genoa’s strategy of hugging the line saved at least two runs.
Dana Naquin sat down the Lady Dragons in order in the fourth but Flournoy retired the Lady Ramblers in order in the bottom half, leaving the score knotted at 1-all entering the fifth.
Dana Naquin pitched a perfect fifth with the help of a strikeout and tremendous diving catch by Lemieux in left field. But, Rose Bud once again went down in order in the bottom half as both pitchers began to settle into a groove.
Page 2 of 2 - In the top of the sixth, Flournoy drilled a leadoff triple deep down the left field line but was stranded as Muphree corralled a foul pop-up, Destany Naquin caught a pop-up to second and Dana Naquin recorded a strikeout.
In the bottom of the sixth, Rose Bud took its first lead, starting when Lemieux slapped an infield single to the left side and moved to second on a throwing error. Following a strikeout and Sartin groundout, which advanced Lemieux to third, Murphree guided an RBI single over shortstop, scoring Lemieux for a 2-1 lead.
Destany Naquin’s triple scored courtesy runner Kailee Hannah from first base as Rose Bud stretched its lead to 3-1 before Flournoy escaped the sixth.
With Genoa needing two runs for a tie, Dana Naquin slammed the door in the top of the seventh as she sandwiched two strikeouts around a hit batsman. With the tying run at the plate, Naquin retired Morton on a pop-out to twin sister Destany Naquin at second base as Rose Bud held tight for a 3-1 victory.