Man's Morgan Cooper delivers a fast ball to a Tug Valley hitter in the Lady Hillbillies 4-0 win on May 3 in the Class A Region 4 Section 1 softball tournament at Man High School. Cooper struck out 17 and hit a tiebreaking solo home run in the third inning of Man's 3-2 win over Buffalo Friday night (Photo by Bill Lusk/WVOW Sports).
Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports
MAN For the first time this season, Morgan Cooper and the Man Lady Hillbillies allowed a first inning run, but the Radford University commit made sure it would be the last run scored.
Using her arm and bat, Cooper pitched and hit the sixth-ranked Lady Hillbillies to a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Lady Bison in the winners bracket championship of the Class A Region 4 Section 1 tournament Friday night at Man High School.
Cooper hit a solo home run on Kimmie Dillman's first pitch with one out in the bottom of the third inning to erase an early 2-0 first deficit and give Man a 3-2 lead. Cooper finished with two hits and two RBIs at the plate while allowing two runs on two hits in seven innings. She struck out 17, hit two and walked one to earn the win.
Dillman had been staked to an early 2-0 lead following a one out walk to Dara Harmon, who scored on Rachel Affolter's two-run home run in the top of the first.
The lead was short lived as the Lady Hillbillies plated two runs on one hit and took advantage three Lady Bison errors in the field to tie the score at 2 after one inning.
Man leadoff hitter Kylie Blevins reached on an error by second baseman Kiera Cocharan while the next batter in the Lady Hillbillies lineup, McKinlee Cline laid down a sacrifice bunt and reached base safely on an error by the third baseman McKinley Null.
Cooper followed with a run-scoring single to center field to score Blevins cutting Buffalo's lead to 2-1. Two batters later, Cline scored the tying run when Peyton Lusk reached base on shortstop Kelsey Brock's fielding error.
Buffalo had two opportunities to tie the game with the first chance coming in the fourth inning and the final chance in the sixth inning.
Cochran doubled to center field with one out in the fourth, but Cooper got Shana Rutan and Null to strike out swinging to end the Lady Bison fourth.
In the sixth inning, Cooper hit Affolter with one out before getting Breigh Martin to strike out swinging for the second out. Cochran was hit by the pitch giving Buffalo runners at first and second, however, Rutan struck out swinging to end the sixth.
Buffalo went in order in the top of the seventh as Man won its 11th straight game to advance to Tuesday's sectional championship.
Dillman was the losing pitcher for Buffalo. She allowed three runs - one earned - on four hits in six innings with five strikeouts and one walk.
Second seeded Buffalo (13-9) will host fourth seeded Tug Valley (17-12) in an elimination game on Monday and the winner travel to Man Tuesday evening.
Man (15-3) needs just one win to advance to the Class A Region 4 championship for a third straight season. A loss would force a winner-take-all sectional championship game Wednesday evening at Man.
Mattie Carroll had a double and Melody Rozzell a single for the Lady Hillbillies.