Versailles softball wins three straight to capture own tournament title

MICHAEL LOSCH, Lake Sun Sports Editor
The Versailles softball team celebrates the championship of its own tournament on Saturday, September 26, in Versailles.

Versailles has come a long way.

Just three years ago, the Tigers won a single game during the 2017 season. Since that time the program has shown steady improvement increasing the win total to five games in 2018, seven games in 2019 and now, Versailles is happily sitting at 13-7 with plenty of softball left to play.

And perhaps there is no better evidence of the program’s turnaround than winning its own annual tournament as the Tigers just did over the weekend. Versailles beat Iberia 10-8, Dixon 7-5 and Marshall 9-7 to do it and the team is currently enjoying a four-game winning streak after taking care of Jamestown by a final score of 18-4 on Monday.

“I am so happy for these girls. Not surprised, but extremely happy that they played so consistent all day,” Versailles coach Jason Ollison said. “We have a group of hard working kids that have committed to turning this program around. A huge recognition also needs to go to the parents who commit to getting these girls playing in the spring and summer. Without that commitment, this would not be possible.”

Versailles started its championship run on Saturday against an Iberia team that is currently 15-2 with some late heroics from the bat of Maris Ollison. With the game tied up at eight in the sixth inning, Ollison smacked a 2-run homer on a line drive over the center field wall to deliver the game-winning runs

Kierra O’Rourke was productive with her bat as well, adding a hit and three RBIs, while Lauren Garrison also drove in a run. Ollison finished with two hits and Kourtney Rainey and Analyssa Pence finished with a hit each. In the circle, Joscelynn Marriott pitched a complete game allowing six earned runs off nine hits while striking out two.

In the next round, Versailles was able to hold off a late Dixon surge as the Bulldogs piled up five runs in the seventh inning after Versailles built a 7-0 lead.

Ollison had another productive outing at the plate with three hits and three RBIs while Garrison added a hit and two RBIs and Marriott also drove in a run while providing a hit. The Tigers finished with 11 hits as a team as Rainey delivered three hits and Taylor Bice, O’Rourke and Alli Biggs also recorded a hit for Versailles.

Ashlynn Davidson pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed five runs, one earned, on seven hits while striking out six and walking one. Marriott got the save and the Tigers prevented three defensive errors from turning into a Dixon rally.

The Tigers were able to hold off another rally against Marshall in the championship as the Owls put together five runs in the seventh inning before running out of outs. Versailles built a 9-2 lead before Marshall came up short in its late rally.

Ollison finished with another two hits and pair of RBIs for Versailles while Biggs added two hits and an RBI and both O’Rourke and Pence added a hit and RBI each. Marriott added a hit and Davidson drove in a run of her own. Marriott was also back in the circle for the championship and pitched another complete game allowing three earned runs on eight hits while striking out five and walking two. This time, Versailles managed to prevent four defensive errors from costing a game and ultimately a championship.

School of the Osage, who has won the Versailles Invitational in three of the past six years, finished 1-2 with an 8-0 loss to Iberia, a 15-1 loss to Marshall and a 16-4 win over Tuscumbia.

Osage started off strong against Tuscumbia piling on the runs early as Liberty Gamm and Skyler Luttrell started off the first inning with RBIs. The Indians closed out the game on an offensive frenzy in the fourth as Shelby Miner, Gamm, Carly Ward, Luttrell and Maddie Arwood each had RBIs to leave no doubt. The Indians finished with 13 hits as a team, led by Gamm’s 3-4 day at the plate. Meanwhile, Luttrell earned the win in the circle allowing three hits while striking out two.

Osage had another promising start in the next game against Marshall with a 1-0 lead after the first inning, but the Owls came back strong with six runs in each of the next two innings while adding three more in the fourth.

The Indians scored their first run off an error, but finished with just three hits overall, led by Paige Luttrell ‘s two hits in the game. Ward was in the circle and she surrendered 12 runs on 10 hits over 2 2/3 innings while striking out three and walking one. Halle Helton did the rest for Osage out of the bullpen as Marshall powered up for four home runs in the contest.

Osage had trouble generating offense in its final outing against Iberia as well, finishing with four hits in the finale while suffering seven strikeouts. Gamm, Reese Good and Arwood each had a hit for Osage. Skyler was in the circle for the Indians and allowed seven runs on two hits over three innings while striking out two. Ward pitched out of the bullpen and finished the final two innings.

Osage (5-9, 2-1 Tri-County Conference) had a game scheduled against Hallsville on Monday that was cancelled due to poor field conditions and rescheduled for October 7. A scheduled game against Bolivar on Tuesday was also postponed and up next is a battle with Versailles on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Versailles (13-7, 1-2 TCC) will come to Osage Wednesday off a win over Jamestown where the Tigers started off hot with 10 runs in the first inning and finished with 11 hits overall.

Ollison had four hits and five RBIs for the Tigers while O’Rourke added two hits and a pair of RBIs and Marriott produced a hit and three RBIs. Pence also drove in a run, finishing the night with one hit, and Bice, Rainey and Davidson each had a hit.

Davidson pitched three innings for Versailles allowing four runs, one earned, on five hits while striking out one. Biggs pitched the other two innings and allowed a pair of hits.