Big night for Tigers

Union County coach Brian Tomlinson waves Mackenzie Orton home in the fifth inning against Bell.
Union County coach Brian Tomlinson waves Mackenzie Orton home in the fifth inning against Bell on Monday in the District 1A-6 Quarterfinals.
Photo by C.J. Gish

Union County (Lake Butler) 10, Bell 6 – The third time was the charm for the Union County (Lake Butler) softball team.

Bell defeated Union County twice during the regular season but on Monday night the No. 5 seed Tigers advanced to the Class 1A-District 6 semifinals with a 10-6 win against the fourth-seeded Bulldogs.

“They’ve been playing well for the last 10 or so games and I felt like if we could continue that we’d have a chance and they did tonight,” said Union County coach Brian Tomlinson. “They came through and played a great game as a team. We put the ball in play and made things happen.”

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It was the bottom of the lineup that set the tone for the Tigers’ offense.

Union County's Jailyn Simmons slides safely under Bell's Alaina Thomas attempted tag to put the Tigers ahead 3-0 in the top of the third inning on the District 1A-6 Quarterfinals on Monday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Union County’s Jailyn Simmons slides safely under Bell’s Alaina Thomas attempted tag to put the Tigers ahead 3-0 in the top of the third inning on the District 1A-6 Quarterfinals on Monday.

The No. 6-9 hitters finished a combined 7-for-13 with five RBI and seven runs scored.

“If you’re getting production from that part of the lineup, you’re going to do well,” Tomlinson said. 

The bottom third of the order scored the first three runs of the game.

Freshman Mia Kent (2-for-4, 2 RS) led off the second with a base hit, freshman Jaydin Alvarez (2-for-2, HR, 4 RBI, 2 RS) walked, and sophomore Jailyn Simmons (1-for-3, RS) had a perfectly executed bunt single to shortstop to load the bases with no outs.

Freshman Emma Handley then reached on an error by second baseman Lizzie Bagby to score Kent, followed by an RBI single by sophomore Leanne Dicks to bring home Alvarez.

A wild pitch scored Simmons for a 3-0 lead and a sacrifice fly to right field by pitcher Shyla Crowe scored Handley for a 4-0 lead.

After Bell (12-13) plated two runs in the bottom of the third inning on a two-RBI double by Dacy Graham (2 DBL, 2 RBI) to cut the deficit in half, the Tigers would get the game-winning hit in the top of the fourth.

Alvarez (2-for-2, 4 RBI) hit the team’s first home run of the season, a three-run blast to left field scoring freshman Brooke Hunt (2-for-4, RBI, 2 RS) and Kent to give the Tigers (14-8) a 7-2 lead.

Union County's Jaydin Alvarez (black helmet) congratulated by her teammates after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning against Bell in the District 1A-6 Quarterfinals on Monday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Union County’s Jaydin Alvarez (black helmet) congratulated by her teammates after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning against Bell in the District 1A-6 Quarterfinals on Monday.

“It was something that I know that she’s been dreaming of, and she did a great job of staying with the pitch and hitting it hard,” Tomlinson said. “She did that last week and got robbed of one (vs. Chiefland). She hit a couple in practice so she felt like she could and she got the right pitch tonight and she was able to hit it hard.”

Union County, which has won 10 of its last 11 games, will play top-seed Fort White at 5 p.m. in the district semifinals.

Last year’s 1A state runner-up, Branford, which is seeded second, will play No. 3 Lafayette (Mayo) at 7 p.m. in the other semifinal.

Union County's Mackenzie Orton avoids the tag by Bell's Krista Scott at first base in the fifth inning of the District 1A-6 Quarterfinals on Monday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Union County’s Mackenzie Orton avoids the tag by Bell’s Krista Scott at first base in the fifth inning of the District 1A-6 Quarterfinals on Monday.

Columbia 8, Lincoln (Tallahassee) 0 – Freshman Harleigh Price threw a complete game no-hitter as the No. 3 seed Tigers (13-10) eliminated No. 6 Lincoln (Tallahassee), 8-0, in a 5A-District 2 Quarterfinal.

Price didn’t walk anyone and struck out nine.

Offensively, freshman Josie Raulerson had a pair of hits including a home run and six RBI for Columbia, which will travel to No. 2 seed Gainesville at 6 p.m. on Tuesday for the district semifinals.

Bell's Alaina Thomas beats the throw to Union's County's Brooke Hunt at third base in the fifth inning of the District 1A-6 Quarterfinals on Monday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Bell’s Alaina Thomas beats the throw to Union County’s Brooke Hunt at third base in the fifth inning of the District 1A-6 Quarterfinals on Monday.

FHSAA SOFTBALL DISTRICT TOURNAMENTS

Class 1A-District 6 at Branford

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals

5 Union County (Lake Butler) 10, 4 Bell 6 

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals

1 Fort White vs. 5 Union County (Lake Butler), 5 p.m.

2 Branford vs. 3 Lafayette (Mayo), 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 1A-District 7 at Higher seed

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals

5 Dixie County (Cross City) 13, 4 Bronson 12

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals

3 Newberry at 2 Chiefland, 6 p.m.

5 Dixie County (Cross City) at 1 Trenton, 6 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 3A-District 5 at Santa Fe (Alachua)

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals

4 P.K. Yonge 15, 5 Eastside 2

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals

2 Trinity Catholic (Ocala) vs. 3 Dunnellon, 5 p.m.

4 P.K. Yonge at 1 Santa Fe (Alachua), 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 7 p.m.

Bell's Alexsandra Faught (left) gets back to second base against Union County in the District 1A-6 Quarterfinals on Monday.
Photo by C.J. Gish Bell’s Alexsandra Faught (left) gets back to second base against Union County in the District 1A-6 Quarterfinals on Monday.

Class 5A-District 2 at Higher seed

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals

5 Ridgeview (Orange Park) 3, 4 Orange Park 0

3 Columbia (Lake City) 8, 6 Lincoln (Tallahassee) 0

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals

3 Columbia (Lake City) at 2 Gainesville, 6 p.m.

5 Ridgeview (Orange Park) at 1 Middleburg, 6 p.m.

Thursday, May 2 – Championship, 6:30 p.m.

Class 6A-District 3 at Oakleaf (Orange Park)

Monday, April 29 – Quarterfinals

4 Buchholz 7, 5 Fletcher (Neptune Beach) 6

6 Tocoi Creek (St. Augustine) 6, 3 First Coast (Jacksonville) 3 

Tuesday, April 30 – Semifinals

2 Nease (Ponte Vedra) vs. 6 Tocoi Creek (St. Augustine), 5 p.m.

4 Buchholz at 1 Oakleaf (Orange Park), 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 1 – Championship, 7 p.m.

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