SPRINGFIELD -- With the tying run on third base and two outs in the top of the 7th inning, Springfield pitcher Morgan Sibley stuck with a formula that worked almost all evening for her against Port Allen.
She got a strikeout -- her 11th of the game -- to end the contest, giving the No. 11 seed Lady Bulldogs a 7-6 win over the No. 22 Lady Pelicans in a Class 2A bi-district playoff game on Monday.
"It was fitting," Springfield coach Ashley Ledet said of the strikeout for the final out. "The environment that we played in (Monday) is unlike anything that we've had to play in before, so I think the players just did a great job fighting through that environment and finishing the game -- even if it was rocky. They finished it."
Springfield travels to face No. 6 Rapides, a 6-0 winner over North Caddo, in the regional round later this week.
The Lady Bulldogs made the ending dramatic after leading 7-2 going into the final inning.
Port Allen’s Diamond Davenport led off with a walk and stole second base. With one out, Kailee Saizon reached first base when Sibley fielded a ball and threw high to Lauren Price at first base, allowing Davenport to score. Laura Morgan followed with a bunt, but the throw to first was dropped, scoring another run.
Michelle Davenport hit another ball back to Sibley, but the Lady Bulldogs got the out at first for the second out.
Springfield couldn’t exhale as Alexis Leonard walked, setting Alyssa Ballard up for a two-run triple to right field, bringing the score to 7-6.
That brought Kristine Ford to the plate and Sibley set her down swinging to end the game.
"That hit all the way to right field was really good," Sibley said. "Instead of letting that bring everybody down, I wad really proud of my team because they didn't give up. They had a runner on 3rd. One run could have tied the game and they didn't. Nobody let it bother them. I was really happy with that."
Sibley gave up three hits and walked four, which Ledet was well aware of.
"She did her job. She did well," Ledet said of Sibley's effort. "I've seen her throw better, and not in the means of of more strikeouts. I don't know that she's thrown a game with 11 strikeouts, but as far as locating her pitches, movement on her pitches, those types of things, I've seen her throw better.
"I have that two-walk limit. I kind of let it slide a little bit (Monday) to see how far we could take it."
The Lady Bulldogs broke the game open with a three-run 3rd inning, snapping a 2-2 tie by taking advantage of walks and being alert on the base paths.
Crissy Edwards and Price drew consecutive one-out walks, setting up Sibley’s RBI single back up the middle for a 3-2 lead. The runners moved up on the throw to the plate, and Price and Sibley later scored on passed balls for a 5-2 advantage.
Springfield padded the lead in the bottom of the 5th inning on Kaitlyn Orgeron’s RBI single. Halee Morris just missed a grand slam when her fly ball was caught at the fence for an RBI making the score 7-2.
"I hate to say you're thinking grand slam, but you kind of are," Ledet said. "But that's the thing. It wasn't. It fell short. It gives us an out. You get one (run) off of it, and you're still happy about it."
The Lady Bulldogs struck first when Tabby Lobell and Edwards led off the bottom of the 1st inning with two straight walks. Lobell stole second base and moved to third on a passed ball.
Edwards stole second base and moved to third when Price’s fielder’s choice to third scored Lobell for a 1-0 lead.
Sibley hit a line drive to second base and Edwards was doubled up at third after she made a break for the plate on the play.
Springfield (13-14) added to the lead in the 2nd inning as Cheyanne Morris led off with a double to left field and Orgeron walked. The runners moved up a base when Annie Romano struck out on a dropped third strike. One out later, courtesy runner Skyla Culler scored on a passed ball.
Sibley struck out five of the first six batters she faced before Port Allen (15-13) got its running game going on knot the score at 2-2 in the top of the 3rd inning when Kennedy Whitfield was hit by a pitch and Davenport singled past second base and moved to second on the throw to the infield.
Whitfield scored on a fielder’s choice bunt and with two outs, Davenport scored on an error when Morris fielded a bunt and the throw to third base went to the fence to tie the game.
"Usually my best pitch is my pitch is my drop curve, but (Monday) my screwball was definitely on," Sibley said. "I found out in warm-ups, so I had time to adjust."
SPRINGFIELD 7, PORT ALLEN 6
Port Allen 002 000 4 -- 6 3 1
Springfield 113 020 x -- 7 6 4
Alexis Perkins, Laura Morgan (5) and Alyssa Ballard; Morgan Sibley and Cheyanne Morris. W – Sibley. L – Perkins. 2B: Springfield -- Cheyanne Morris. Records: Port Allen 15-13, Springfield 13-14. Up next: Class 3A regional playoff – Springfield at Rapides, TBA.