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Ponchatoula scores walk-off run to defeat Albany

Albany and Ponchatoula had solid pitching performances to take Monday afternoon's game to extra innings, but the Green Wave scored a walk-off run in the bottom of the eighth to secure the home 5-4 win.

Ponchatoula had two runners in scoring position and called for Tate McKinnon to bring home Sophia Nuzzolillo from third for the winning run on a bunt. When McKinnon laid the bunt down, Nuzzolillo initially held up to draw the throw to first.

Ponchatoula coach Lee Willie sent Nuzzolillo home once Albany made the motion to throw away from the plate, but Albany got the throw off to try and make a play at home. The ball went wide of the catcher and Nuzzolillo slid in safely for the win.

"Tate did a great job getting the bunt down," said Willie.

"That's what we asked her to do. That's very unselfish of her. That's part of this team and the way we are starting to play. We're going to sacrifice what's best for us for the team. I'm proud of the girls for that."

Albany started the first inning with heads-up baserunning by Annalea Giamalva. After Giamalva singled through the right side, she stole second, third and scored on a Kaci Payne groundout.

Ponchatoula responded immediately in the bottom of the frame when Nuzzolillo scored on a McKinnon groundout to tie the game at 1-1.

Allie Amerson cleaned up with the next at-bat with a two-run homer to put Ponchatoula up 3-1.

In the top of the third inning, Albany tied the game up back at 3-3. Heather Degenhardt hit a line drive for a double and brought home Brittney Turner from second. Payne scored on an error to tie the game before the end of the inning.

With the score tied at 3-3, Albany switched pitchers, subbing in Giamalva for Turner to throw Ponchatoula off balance with a different speed in the pitches. The strategy paid off and Albany went three up, three down to finish the third inning tied 3-3.

Ponchatoula took back the lead in the fourth inning when Cameron Dionne doubled to bring Courtney Rodriguez home, putting Ponchatoula up 4-3.

Albany tied the game back up in the top of the sixth inning when Abbie Spring singled to center, bringing in Degenhardt for the Hornets fourth run of the ball game.