ALBANY -- Immediately after Rayanne Ridgel rounded second base, Albany coach David Knight was halfway up the third-base line, waving her home without so much as a doubt in his mind.
“I was bringing her around,” Knight said. “They may have thrown her out at home, but I was bringing her around. They hadn’t gotten the ball into second base yet and (Ridgel) has a little speed, so I was going to take that chance.”
Ridgel’s inside-the-park home run delivered three of Albany’s 12 runs in a 12-0 run-rule win over Marksville in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs on Monday.
Ridgel’s sprint around the bases in the 2nd inning opened the scoring for both teams and set the tempo for an offense that narrowly missed putting a run on the board in the 1st inning.
Ridgel and pitcher Brittney Turner accounted for six of the Lady Hornets’ 12 runs, each hitting a home run. The other half of Albany’s impressive offense night came from its ability to manufacture runs the old-fashioned way courtesy of Knight’s willingness to chip away at the defense, evidenced by Albany's 9 stolen bases.
“Coach really likes small-ball tactics,” Turner said. “He likes to pick up one run at a time and take a game play-by-play. Bunting is one of the things that our team is really good at it and he likes to use that to our advantage.”
Turner scattered 3 hits over 5 innings and did not yield a walk.
Marksville starter Logan Brevelle coughed up 7 runs in 3 innings before being pulled in the 4th in favor of sophomore Grayce Bordelon, who allowed five earned runs in an inning.
Though Turner had a successful regular-season campaign in the circle, she approached Monday’s game through a different lens.
“I tried to move out of the zone a bit more than usual and that’s why you saw them chase some pitches,” Turner said. “When I worked the edges of the zone, they seemed to go after them.”
Albany will face Jena on Friday in the 3A regional round in a game that Knight expects to be a tough matchup for his team given Jena’s propensity for the long ball.
“They’re scary,” Knight said. “We saw them a few weeks back and they had four or five kids who hit home runs the day we saw them, so they’ve got plenty of power. They’ve also played a lot of really good teams this year and the games they did lose were close games.”
ALBANY 12, MARKSVILLE 0
Marksville 000 00 -- 0 3 2
Albany 034 5x -- 12 12 0
Halley Hallmeyer and Logan Brevelle, Grayce Bordelon (5); Rayanne Ridgel and Brittney Turner. W -- Turner. L -- Brevelle. 2B: Albany -- Annalea Giamalva. HR: Albany -- Ridgel, Turner. Records: Marksville 10-17, Albany 27-6, Up next: Class 3A regional playoff -- Jena at Albany, time TBD Friday.