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CRAWFORD â€“ The East Oktibbeha softball team didn't make things easy for themselves, but they found a way into the playoffs on Thursday.
Lady Titans pitching walked 21 McAdams batters, 18 in the first three innings, but East Oktibbeha overcame its mistakes to defeat the Lady Bulldogs 23-13.
"We had to dig ourselves out of the hole the entire way but we persevered throughout this season and we're just happy we're about to go into the playoffs for the first time in a long time," said Lady Titans coach Pam Roberts.
The win puts East Oktibbeha 5-3 in t in the postseason as the Class A, Region 5, District 4 runner-up.
While Roberts' team can celebrate their accomplishment now, things didn't look so bright early against McAdams.
The Lady Bulldogs jumped out to a 6-0 first inning lead and held a 13-8 advantage heading to the bottom of the third. That's when East Oktibbeha's fortunes changed for the better.
The Lady Titans closed the gap to 13-10, and when Savannah Blair connected for a three-run, inside-the-park home run, her second of three round-trippers for the day, the score was tied. Blair's four total hits, some error-assisted, accounted for 10 Lady Titans runs in the game.
"It feels good to come through like this," said Blair. "Now, we're going to the ship (Class A playoffs). This the first time I've ever been in the playoffs and I just wanted to take us there."
East Oktibbeha scored three more third inning runs to take a 16-13 lead into the latter stages of the game. They would never trail again as Quanisha Doss hurled three shutout innings to hold down the Lady Bulldogs long enough for the Lady Titans to secure the 10-run mercy rule win.
"I just changed the way I was stepping and where I was standing and how I was throwing the ball up there," said Doss of the adjustments she made the last three frames. "I got nervous and mad (during the first three innings), but it feels good now because we are heading to the playoffs and the seniors want to get a ring."
The Lady Titans will open the playoffs on Tuesday at Noxapater. No game time has been set as of yet.
Roberts is just glad her team finally righted the ship on Thursday to give themselves a postseason run.
"We really pulled it all together," said Roberts. "By the time they figured out it's not about the balls and the strikes, it's about the play of the game on the field, then they were ready to go. We've had a great season. I can't say enough."