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Sixth-ranked Cougars ride Baker's arm, Albritton's bat to final against Gaither.
By ROD GIPSON
Published April 19, 2007
TAMPA - Countryside pitcher Desiree Baker threw a complete-game six-hitter against Sickles in an 8-2 victory Wednesday that advanced the Cougars to the Class 6A, District 7 final against Gaither.
With the semifinal victory, Countryside improved to 17-4.
Baker added a double in a six-run third inning. Alyssa Albritton had a home run and a three-run double for Countryside, ranked sixth in Class 6A, which will take on Gaither in the title game at 7 tonight. Gaither beat Mitchell 3-2 in 10 innings.
"We did some nice hitting," Countryside coach Kaylyn Bayly said. "Sickles has an outstanding team. We made some mistakes, but we made enough plays and got some hits to win it."
Meanwhile, Gaither was determined to avoid a repeat.
So the Cowboys didn't worry when Mitchell took the lead in their semifinal contest. The Cowboys didn't seem concerned when the Mustangs retook the lead, either.
Or when a baserunning error got a potential winning run put out at the plate.
Through it all, Gaither was focused only on not losing again to Mitchell in the district semifinals, as was the case just a year ago.
In the 10th, Gaither got a single to center from Lauren Elgar to score Katie Forbes.
Gaither (20-6) received an outstanding pitching performance from Morgan Grove, who struck out 15 and allowed two hits (both doubles).
The Cowboys also had to overcome six fielding errors and a fifth-inning gaffe when Megan Clark ran home from third but failed to touch the plate and was tagged out.
But the Cowboys, who never led in the game until winning it, managed to tie the score in the bottom of the seventh, sending the game to extra innings.
"I told them to step up right now or pack it up," Gaither coach Al Alcala said of his team's late-inning heroics.
"I thought it was going to be a repeat of last year. I take my hat off to Morgan. She pitched a heck of a game."