Fayetteville catcher Brooke Wheeler fires the ball to first base after tagging out Shady’s Alex Albright Tuesday in the first inning of their game in Shady Spring. The Tigers won 6-3.

Lew Whitener
The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, WV

All Whitley Hayhurst needed was a little support.

Shady Spring staked Hayhurst to an early five-run lead and the senior right-hander did the rest in a 6-3 win over Class A power Fayetteville Tuesday.

She stopped the Pirates on six hits, striking out five while walking two.

Hayhurst had also pitched well Monday at Wyoming East, but dropped a 3-2 decision.

“We knew we had to pick it up from yesterday,” she said. “They were behind me today.”

Relying on a turnover drop pitch, Hayhurst allowed just one run over the first six innings — a solo home run by all-state catcher Brooke Wheeler in the third.

“My inside and outside were working today,” Hayhurst said. “Brooke hit a turnover drop and got on it good. After that we threw her inside.”

Wheeler, who had also homered Monday in the Pirates’ 7-2 win over Liberty, singled up the middle in the first inning. In the fifth she hit a shot to deep left field that Jayna Sayre tracked down.

“I believe Brooke has found her home run swing,” coach Nancy Adkins said. “I hope she doesn’t stop.”

As fate would have it, Wheeler stepped to the plate in the top of the seventh as Fayetteville’s last chance.

The Pirates had already plated two runs in the inning. Erica Payne led off with a single, Hogan Tyler struck out and Shandi Myles drew a walk.

Following a double steal, Amber Spearen hit a chopper that Hayhurst overran. Payne scored and Myles went to third.

Stephanie Nickell then lined a single to center. Myles scored but Spearen was tagged out at home.

That brought up Wheeler, who worked Hayhurst to a 3-2 count.

“It was nerve-wracking,” Hayhurst said. “I knew I had to strike her out.”

After setting Wheeler up with inside turnover drops, Hayhurst came with the heat and got the upper corner of the plate for strike three.

“I was looking for an inside pitch or to walk,” Wheeler said.

Myles, a freshman right-hander, survived a nightmare first inning in which her teammates committed four errors, including three on ground balls.

The Pirates threw runners out at home and at third, but Brandi Phillips hit a grand slam home run over the right field fence to make it 5-0.

Shady (9-7) added another run in the second on consecutive singles by Jayna Sayre, Tia Via and Hayhurst.

Myles then settled down and allowed just three singles, all in the fifth inning, the rest of the way.

“The errors killed us. They were really tight,” Adkins said. “But they battled back and didn’t give up. I’m proud of them.”

It was the 14-4 PIrates’ second loss to Shady this season. They also dropped games to Wyoming East and Buffalo.

“We’ve lost to two strong double-A’s and the No. 1 single-A team,” Adkins said. “We’re playing a lot harder teams this year, trying to get ready for the sectionals, regionals and, hopefully, states.”

— E-mail:

F: Shandi Myles and Brooke Wheeler, SS: Whitney Hayhurst and Brandi Phillips. WP — Hayhurst. LP — Myles. Hitting — F: Stephanie Nickell 2-4 (rbi), Brooke Wheeler 2-4 (hr, rbi), Erica Payne 2-2, SS: Hayhurst 2-3 (2 rbi), Phillips 1-3 (hr, 4 rbi), Jayna Sayre 1-3, Tia Via 1-3, Alex Albright 1-3, Sam Daniels 1-2, Lydia Honaker 1-3.

Records: F: 14-4; SS: 9-7.

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