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Byng bounces back with win over Maud

Mar. 30—TUPELO — The Byng Lady Pirates rebounding from their first loss of the season — a tough 9-7 setback to Tupelo on the Lady Tigers' home turf — and shut out Maud 9-0 Thursday night to stay afloat in the rugged Beast of The East Tournament.

Byng started its tournament action with a 12-8 victory over Wilson and entered Friday's Beast action at 6-1 on the year.

Byng head coach Markus Carr said his team's good start to the season is all about the approach to the game.

"It was a good bounce-back opportunity. The reason they were able to bounce back was the mindset that they had," Carr told The Ada News following the game. "Their mindset means a whole lot. If they decide to go play and do things the right way and hold themselves to the standard that set for themselves, they can look pretty good."

The Lady Pirates returned to action Friday morning when the entire tournament shifted to Stonewall's two softball fields. The Beast of the East wraps up today with games starting at 10 a.m. and ending with a 6:30 p.m. championship game.

During Byng's salty start to the 2024 season, the Lady Pirates have beaten five ranked teams. Maud (5-7) entered Thursday night's contest No. 13 in Class A. The Lady Pirates handed Wilson, No. 15 in Class 3A, its only loss of the season to date. The Lady Eagles were 6-1 heading into Day 2.

The one thing Carr said he'd like to see his team improve on is getting timely hits.

"We have to keep finding ways to get big hits in key situations — not that we haven't done it, but I'd like to see us be a little more consistent," he said. "We run the bases well. We can swing it a little bit. and we've been playing defense well. We're a pretty complete team when we decide to be. "

One of the keys to Byng's early success has been the performance of junior pitcher Paige Ridgway. Through 42 innings, Ridgway has only 14 walks.

"It starts in the circle for us and finishes in the box. Paige is a three-year starter and she gets it. She can move the ball around. She's consistent. and she doesn't let the game rattle her," he said.

Byng has averaged over 10 runs per outing thus far and has scored 12 or more four times in seven tries. He said part of the credit to the BHS offensive output is the bottom of his batting order.

"Up and down the lineup, we can swing it pretty well when we execute the game plan," Carr said. "Our eight, nine and 10 hitters — Aubrey Pope, Kinley Sellers and Stormy Musshafen — when they're hitting, we're pretty dang good. I'm really proud of those three because they've come a long way. They've been coachable and they've learned."

Byng didn't play its first game until March 21 so most of the Lady Pirates' opponents will have far more contests under their belts.

"We got a late start because we usually stay away from spring break. I want to let the kids be kids. But we'll be playing softball until October," he said.

The Beast of the East will only get tougher the farther the Byng team advances. The Lady Pirates had to win a pair of games on Friday to make it to today's action.

"This tournament gives you plenty of tests, but like I told my girls, we shouldn't be intimidated by anybody. We work just as hard as the next team or even harder," Carr said. "It's not easy playing softball at Byng. I think we're setting ourselves up for a fun slow-pitch season."

Byng 9, Maud 0

The Lady Pirates turned a pair of double plays and weren't charged with a single error in the shutout victory.

Byng scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning on back-to-back doubles by Leigh Ridgway and Piper Presley and a sacrifice fly by Aubrey Pope.

The bottom of the BHS batting order came through in the top of the fourth inning in the form of a pair of clutch, two-out RBI hits from Stormy Musshafen and Kinley Sellers to push the lead to 4-0.

The Lady Pirates tacked on five more runs in the top of the sixth inning with a two-RBI double by McKenzie Alford and a majestic three-run homer from Alona Cooper-Rochovitz, her third of the spring.

Byng piled up 17 total hits, including two each by Alford, Cooper, Paige Ridgway, Presley and Sellers. Leigh Ridgway finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored for the locals.

Tupelo 9, Byng 7

Byng led 7-6 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning but Tupelo standout Ava Sliger hit a three-run homer in that frame to lift the Lady Tigers to the victory.

Tupelo, ranked No. 4 in Class B, improved to 11-3 on the year. Due to the way the bracket is set up, the win guaranteed the Lady Tigers would be playing today no matter what happened in a Friday night contest opposite Class 5A No. 3 Washington.

Ava Sliger led a 16-hit Tupelo attack, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and six RBIs. Lainee Wafford also had three hits, including a double, and scored twice for the Lady Tigers. Bailey Battles and Maci Gaylor also slapped doubles for the hosts.

Paige Ridgway and Alona Cooper-Rochovitz both hit home runs for Byng. Cooper finished 2-for-2 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored and Ridgway went 1-for-3 with a three-run blast in the top of the third inning that tied the game at 4-4.

Piper Presley went 3-for-3 with two doubles and scored a run in Byng's 10-hit offense. McKenzie Alford finished 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored.

Byng 12, Wilson 8

The game was tied at 7-7 before Byng scored five consecutive runs to surge ahead. The Lady Pirates scored a single run in the bottom of the third inning and pushed across two runs in both the fourth and fifth frames to push their lead to 12-7.

Paige Ridgway led a 20-hit Byng barrage, going 4-for-4 with a home run, seven RBIs and two runs scored. Hailey Alexander finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.

McKenzie Alford, Alona Cooper-Rochovitz, Leigh Ridgway, Piper Presley and Stormy Musshafen all added two hits each. Alford cracked a double and scored twice and Presley drove in a pair of runs. Hannah Wort ripped a triple and drove in a run for the locals.

Allissa Schiralli led a 17-hit Wilson offense with a 3-for-3 outing. Allysin Powell and Jaden Gage both hit home runs for the Lady Eagles. Powell finished 2-for-2 with a walk and three RBIs and Gage went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.