Tuesday’s high school softball game between Cartersville and Adairsville was a little different in that the Lady Canes came away with the decisive 8-3 victory, but the Lady Tigers played their smoothest game of the season and head coach Kandace Bruno was pleased with her team’s effort.
“We made a lot of improvement today. We played great defensively,” Bruno said of her team. “We didn’t have any errors today. That’s the first time all season, which is a great thing because that’s one of the things that’s been really hurting us.”
Even with the improved defense, Cartersville jumped on the Adairsville pitching in the second inning. Maddie Geiger came through with a double over the Adairsville center fielder’s head to drive in two runs and open up the scoring. Geiger then advanced from second base to home on two wild pitches. Mallory Howard, who walked earlier in the second inning, would eventually come around to score on a wild pitch. Kailah Rain would then step to the plate and drive home Cartersville’s fifth run of the game on a hard hit single up the middle.
All in all, the Canes would capitalize on three hits, five walks and four wild pitches in the inning.
“Cartersville’s a great hitting ball club,” Bruno said. “I don’t know too many girls at this age that can wait on our pitching speed and hit the ball the other way, and they did that a couple times.”
In the bottom of the third inning, Cartersville would tack on two more runs on another hard hit ball by Rain. The senior delivered an opposite-way double to the gap in left-center field to drive in runners from first and second. Rain would finish the day 4-for-4 with three RBIs.
“I was seeing the ball really well,” Rain said. “It was slower pitching, so it was easier to see. I was just trying to make contact and trying to get the job done.”
Cartersville pitcher Annalyn Yantis was again strong in the pitcher’s circle. She pitched four innings while allowing one hit, no walks, and striking out five.
Hunter Irvin, Kennedy Bailey and Mallory Howard also reached base twice each before being taken out of the game in the fourth inning so coach Rick Holsomback could see some of his less experienced players in action.
“I was very happy with how they played,” Holsomback said of the girls who came off the bench for the Canes. “There were some freshmen in, so they got to see some live pitching and it put them in some situations. And they were in some stressful situations.”
Brittany Huth, Taylor Waits, Savannah Summers and Molly Wilson all had hits off the bench for Cartersville.
Meanwhile, Adairsville began to get the bats going themselves. Taylor Gibbs delivered an RBI single in the fifth. Bailey Robinson came up the next inning and lined a double to right field for the first run in the sixth inning. Gibbs then followed Robinson with her second RBI single of the game to make the score 8-3.
“We were down 7-0, and we were still fighting and stringing hits together,” Bruno said. “Our players did a great job. They never gave up and that’s all that I ask of them, to never give up and get better every game. So I’m happy.”
Without question, Adairsville put forth its cleanest defensive performance of the season.
“We had a huge improvement. We’ve been making six, seven, eight errors a game. So for us to come out and not make any, it’s a huge improvement,” Bruno said. “It just shows what we can do if we don’t make errors and give runs away. Most of our girls are underclassmen and we still have a lot of work to do, but they’re listening to everything we’re saying and working hard. We have a promising future.”
On the other side, Cartersville now moves to 2-1 in its region and 5-3 overall.
“I feel confident. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, and we’re definitely in a good spot right now,” Rain said of her team’s position at this point in the season. “Last week, we held our own against Ringgold and we’re looking forward to playing them again. I think they’re our toughest competition in the region.”