However, the catcher had been going through a slump of sorts and had one hit in her previous six games.
That all changed Tuesday when Bailey hit two home runs in back-to-back innings as Cartersville defeated Gordon Central by a score of 10-0 in four and a half innings thanks to Bailey and a strong performance from all of the Lady Canes.
Like most successes, Bailey attributes her two homers to hard work.
“I was struggling hitting for a couple of games, so I’ve been just working on my mechanics,” Bailey said. “I’ve been working and putting in extra time on the weekends, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong.
“It’s just repetition of hitting buckets of balls.”
Before Bailey even got a hold of those two long balls, the rest of the Lady Canes jumped out to a big lead.
Kailah Rain led off the Cartersville half of the first inning with a double on the first pitch she saw. Hunter Irvin then traded places with Rain by hitting a double over the left field wall to score the first run of the game. Annalyn Yantis drove in the second run of the game with another double to left field to give the team two runs on three doubles before a Cartersville out was recorded.
Mallory Jackson had the fourth hard hit line drive of the inning when she drove a double over the center fielder’s head to score the third run of the contest.
“We’ve been working on a few things in practice, and hopefully, we’re starting to get back on track and find our groove,” Cartersville head coach Rick Holsomback said. “We’re working hard in practice and working hard at the plate. We’ve been doing a couple of different hitting drills and it’s starting to pay off a little bit.”
For most of the season, Hunter Irvin has led off and senior Kailah Rain has batted second, making for a dynamic duo at the top of the order. However, Holsomback switched the two in Tuesday’s lineup and, as a result, the pair got the offense rolling with three straight line drives to start the game.
“Well, Kailah has hit for a little more contact, but Hunter really hit the ball well today and she hit the ball well in practice yesterday,” Holsomback said. “Those two are a pretty good combination.”
Rain continued the trend of lining the ball to the outfield when she sent one down the left field line for another double with two outs in the second inning. Rain then stole third base, but when the catcher threw to third to try and catch Rain, the ball went into left field and Rain went home to produce the fourth run all by herself.
The next inning belonged to Bailey’s line drive home run over the left field fence. The ball did not take very long to travel out of the ballpark and continued the trend of Cartersville line drives.
“It was just the pitching I like,” Bailey said. “When I hit it, it felt like I wasn’t hitting anything. It felt good.”
The third inning did not end there. After Annie Holsomback and Jackson reached base, Maddie Geiger drove them both home with a two-run single. Mallory Howard made the score 8-0 when she singled home Geiger from second base.
Bailey then hit her second home run of the game, driving in Yantis, who reached base with her second double of the game.
“The first [home run], I pretty much knew it was going out. The second one, I didn’t know if it was fair or foul, but it had the right feeling when I hit it,” Bailey said. “It feels like I’m not hitting anything. It felt good.”
Bailey scored Yantis twice in the game and the battery got the job done on defense as well.
Yantis pitched five innings, allowing just four hits while striking out seven Gordon Central batters.
The Canes actually had a losing record in the month of September after getting off to such a good start to the season and giving the top team in region 5-AAA, Ringgold, a close game both times the two teams met. Holsomback thinks his team may have turned the corner with three games remaining in region play.
“The girls have a goal,” he said of his team. “This is one step toward that goal. We have three more steps coming soon and the girls know what they need to do and we’re focused, and hopefully, we’ll achieve that goal.”
The Canes would like to move past the first round of the state tournament, which is where they were eliminated a season ago. They would also like to meet Ringgold with a region title on the line. In order to accomplish those goals, Cartersville will first have to travel to play Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe Thursday.
Cass holds on to lead at Cedartown
On Monday, the Cass softball team was able to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning and held onto it for the remainder of the game against Woodland.
On Tuesday, the Lady Colonels once again jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and once again they held on thanks to another very strong outing from Courtney Bailey in the 4-2 victory at Cedartown.
The Colonels manufactured three runs in the second inning when they scored on an error, a passed ball, and a steal of home by Lynnsey Hollifield.
Cedartown made the game interesting in the third inning with two runs.
However, Hannah Kirkpatrick’s homer in the sixth inning gave the Colonels a little more cushion for Bailey.
Bailey allowed just four hits and no earned runs in her seven innings Tuesday. She also struck out eight Cedartown would-be hitters.
Cass will look to continue its win streak Thursday at home against Darlington.
Rogers no-hits Lithia Springs
Heading into Tuesday’s action, Woodland needed to beat Lithia Springs and have Allatoona beat South Paulding to claim the second seed in the region.
The Lady Wildcats had both happen Tuesday as they defeated Lithia Springs on the road by a score of 22-0 and Allatoona defeated South Paulding 6-3.
Rogers threw a perfect game in her three innings of work while striking out three. That was all that was required of her as the Lady Wildcats had 16 hits, at least one from each starter, to go along with five walks.
Bridgett Hampton hit her third home run of the season, and Sydney Hodorff, Ashley Jordan and Darby Cagle each had a double in the game.
Ashley Jordan had four hits and tied Hampton for the team lead with four RBIs.
Darby Cagle, Keri Cagle, Kereston Franklin and Hodorff each had two hits on the day.
Rogers, Brandee Godfrey and Kylie Knox also had hits for Woodland.
Excel victory saved by late catch
The Excel softball team has been beating teams pretty handily this season and has not encountered as many close games as teams playing region schedules.
However, it is important for the young Lady Eagles to gain experience in close games.
That is exactly what happened Tuesday as Excel claimed a 3-2 victory over Trion thanks to a great catch at the center field wall by Caroline Moore to close the game.
“That was a great play over her head to save a couple of runs,” Excel coach Chad Parker said of the catch. “If that drops, we lose the game 4-3.”
Aliza Baker was the star of the game with her three hits and three scoreless innings in the pitcher’s circle.
Excel scored two runs in the first inning, gave up two runs in the third and then took the lead in the fourth.
“We just held on,” Parker said. “Our hitting was good, our pitching was good and our defense was good.”