The Woodland softball team got a taste of its new region Tuesday when it faced a tough Dalton team as the Lady Wildcats came up short by a score of 3-1 in nine innings.
“This game right here shows you how tough our side is going to be. There’s nobody that’s going to be a gimme,” head coach Colman Roberts said. “We’re going to move on. It’s disappointing, definitely, but it’s a long season.”
Dalton was led in the pitcher’s circle by sophomore Alli Swinford. Swinford’s changeup had the Woodland batters off-balance the first time through the order as the Lady Wildcats failed to earn a base runner in the first three innings.
“She through the whole season last year and they were in a real tough region. She threw well, had us off balance, especially the first time through,” Roberts said of Swinford. “She’s a leader out there. She’s very vocal and knows what’s going on.”
The Woodland bats did break through in the fifth inning when Sydney Hodorff led off with a double and Courtney Godfrey drove her in with a single to give Woodland a 1-0 lead.
Dalton would quickly answer back in the top of the sixth when three singles and an error resulted in a run.
Woodland had a chance to tack on more runs throughout the game, but was unable to do so. The Lady Wildcats had runners in scoring position with less than two outs in each the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but could only muster one run. They hit 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position during that span.
“First through third inning, nobody reached base throughout the lineup, and then we started getting people on and we just didn’t have timely hits. We weren’t productive,” Roberts said. “We struck out at the plate instead of getting an out, moving the runner. We had a baserunning mistakes there in the sixth inning. We just have to have some timely hits.
“I love our lineup. We just have to get over that hump and start hitting.”
Meanwhile, Dalton was similarly struggling to score with runners in scoring position. The Lady Catamounts outhit Woodland 11-6 in the game, but Woodland pitcher Brooke Rogers was able to get out of jams by keeping the ball in the infield, inducing 13 groundouts. None of Dalton’s three runs in the game were earned.
“I thought Brooke pitched well,” Roberts said. “They have a couple of kids who can hit.”
Dalton was finally able to break through in the ninth inning with a runner placed on second base to begin the frame due to the international tiebreaker. Dalton scored its first run of the ninth on a wild pitch and its second on a slow dribbler up the first base line.
Woodland was then unable to score a run in its half of the ninth to end the game.
“Our kids are going to battle back. I guarantee you,” Roberts said. “We’re going to fight and scratch and do whatever it takes.”
The game could have gone differently but an umpiring mistake hurt Woodland’s chances when the international tiebreaker was not put into effect until the ninth inning. By rule, it should have been implemented in the eight inning when Woodland had its No. 2, 3 and 4 hitters due up.
“We should have went to the international tiebreaker in the eighth inning and they goofed that up. We’ve always gone to an international tiebreaker since I’ve been coaching softball for 14 years,” Roberts said. “That didn’t beat us, but that probably would have helped us, too.”
Woodland will now move on to play at Cass Thursday in another region game.
“All these region games are important for the fact that four out of seven teams will go to the region tournament,” Roberts said. “We definitely want to be in the top four.”
In addition to Hodorff’s and Godfrey’s hits that led to their team’s run in the fourth inning, Bailey Roberts added two hits in the game. Kereston Franklin and Taylor Calhoun also each had a hit for Woodland.
Rockmart 10, Cartersville 3
The Cartersville softball team equaled Rockmart with 14 hits, but could not push across as many runs against its non-region opponent. Brittany Huth led the Lady Canes with three hits and Cartersville pitcher Annalyn Yantis had a game-high four strikeouts in the loss.