Orange County

Orange, Webb knotted atop Big Eight softball standings

Oxford Webb celebrates is 13-0 win over Orange on Friday, April 28, 2017.
Oxford Webb celebrates is 13-0 win over Orange on Friday, April 28, 2017.

The battle for first place in the Big Eight softball race between Orange and Oxford Webb is back to even after Webb posted a 13-0 win on Friday night. Orange won their opener 9-3 on Thursday night.

The visiting team won each time.

Webb coach Leo Brunelli said his team didn't get down after losing the first game at home.

"What a difference a day makes," Brunelli said. "We were much more disciplined at the plate this time. It was two great teams battling. Thursday they got the better end of it and (Friday) we got the better end of it.

"They've been talking about these games since January."

In Friday's contest, Webb pitcher Mary Anna Clement (14-1) allowed only three hits while recording a complete-game shutout. It was the first time this season Orange hasn't scored a run.

Webb jumped out to a quick lead with four runs in the top of the first inning to take control of the game.

"I am proud of the kids and the way they started," Brunelli said. "Something special happened on the bus and the team came together on the trip down. You don't see it happen often and I think it really made a difference in this game."

Offensively, Webb got 14 hits as it handed Orange only it second loss of the season. They had six players who recorded two hits. Hailee Cutts led the way, going 2 for 3 with three RBIs and a run scored.

"We came ready to play," Cutts said. "We were up the whole game and our intensity in the game was awesome. I don't think we could have done any better. Coming here, we really, really wanted it. The game Thursday was a little bit of a letdown. We had bounce back to get this win because it is what we've been working for all season."

Orange coach Eddie Davidson said his team probably played its best game in their series opener on Thursday.

"I've been saying all year that Webb was going to be tough team to beat," Davidson said. "We went up there and played our best game. Tonight we go stuck. It boils down to them outplaying us."

Orange starting pitcher Kristina Givens had difficulty finding a very tight strike zone at the outset, according to Davidson.

"She wasn't getting the calls on the corners and that left her having to throw it in there fat," Davidson said. "Her curveball was not something she was getting all night. But they were hitting, too. I can't take anything away from them."

Webb (16-3, 9-1) and Orange (15-2, 9-1) each have two conference games remaining. If they are still tied in the standings at the end of next week, they will have a playoff game to determine which team gets the top seed out of the conference for the upcoming 3-A state playoffs.

"If we both take care of our business, I'm sure we'll have to meet again," Brunelli said.

Orange's remaining conference games are against Cedar Ridge, while Webb will face Northern Vance twice to wrap up its conference slate.

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6889, @HPreps