Defense lifts Tabb softball team past William Monroe in state quarterfinals

Dave Johnson
Contact Reporterdjohnson@dailypress.com

One of the oldest adages in sports is that defense wins championships. Time will tell if that’s true for Tabb’s softball team, but that’s what got the Tigers into the Class 3 semifinals.

Tabb gave up 13 hits, including three home runs, but offered no help in 9-5 quarterfinal win over William Monroe Monday at York High School. The Dragons committed five errors that factored in three unearned runs. The Tigers had one misplayed grounder, but it turned out to be harmless.

Tabb (24-0) will go against Skyline in a 10 a.m. semifinal Friday at the Moyer Complex in Salem.

“That was the game we expected, and our defense has been solid all season,” Tigers coach Brian Verstynen said. “The difference between them and us tonight was defense. We give up some runs. We bend, but we don’t break.

“When we win, it’s always a team effort. We get hits from everybody, we play good defense, and our pitchers hit their spots.”

That’s what starter Alyssa Lowe and reliever Hannah Maltos did for the most part. But the Dragons (15-8) had at least one hit in every inning except the fourth. Seven of their 13 hits went for extra bases.

Emma Pickett, Alexis Ray, and Alexis Wayland each hit home runs. But, fortunately for Tabb, each came with nobody on base.

The Tigers had eight hits but were able to score in a variety of ways. Catcher Sydney Jacobsen had four RBI — two on a second-inning single, one on a fourth-inning sacrifice fly, and one on a sixth-inning hit by pitch.

Kristen Malloy drove in three, two coming on a sixth-inning double to the fence.

The game couldn’t have started much shakier for William Monroe, which allowed the first three batters to reach base on errors. Tabb scored twice to take a 2-1 lead but left runners on first and third.

The Tigers broke it open with a three-run second. Two of those runs scored on Jacobsen’s single to the gap in left-center.

“Being strong on the defensive side has helped us produce offensively and feel comfortable on the field,” Jacobsen said. “Being able to back that up with hitting has been our strength all season.”

Tabb took a 9-3 lead into the top of the seventh, but William Monroe wasn’t done. A home run by Wayland and back-to-back doubles by Jessica Ford and Pickett made it 9-5 with one out.

But Maltos got a double-play liner to the mound to seal it.

“They were the hardest-hitting team we’ve faced so far,” Jacobsen said. “I think our team came together really well as a whole and came out with the win.”

TABB 9, WILLIAM MONROE 5

William Monroe 100 002 2 — 5 13 5

Tabb 230 103 x 9 8 1

WP: Lowe. LP—Lamb. Standouts: William Monroe—Wayland 2-4 (HR), Pickett 3-4 (3 RBI, HR, 2B), Lam 2-4, Ray 2-3 (HR), Shortridge 2-3. Tabb—Verstynen 1-3 (3 runs), Morinec 1-2 (BB, 3 runs), Jacobsen 1-2 (HBP, SF, 4 RBI), Malloy 1-4 (3 RBI).

Johnson can be reached at 757-247-4649. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveJohnsonDP.

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