Lady Canes, Eagles capitalize on timely hits in wins
by Jason Greenberg
Sep 03, 2014 | 935 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
According to Cartersville head softball coach Shannon Dietrich, a lack of timely hitting has hurt the Lady Canes so far this season.

However, Cartersville was able to produce with runners in scoring position and two outs Tuesday, which is one of the primary reasons the Lady Canes came away with a 6-2 region win at home against Southeast Whitfield.

After losing it’s first four region games, Cartersville has won its last two and is 4-7 overall on the season.

“We had a couple of clutch hits and that’s what we’ve been missing,” Dietrich said of the game. “Taking two out of the region is nice. We had to overcome some stuff [earlier in the season] and we’re better for it. We’re playing hard, playing smart and they’re playing to win, and that’s all I can ask for.”

After Southeast Whitfield pitcher Sydney Covington held Cartersville scoreless through the first two innings, the Lady Canes put up two runs in the third and four in the fourth inning.

All six of the team’s runs came with two outs as Cartersville hit 5-for-8 with runners in scoring position and two outs in the game.

According to Dietrich, the run production was a result of her team making in-game adjustments. Cartersville batters went 4-for-7 with a walk and a sacrifice bunt the second time through the order.

“Except for our 3-, 4-, 5-girls, they were trying to jam us,” Dietrich said of Southeast’s pitching strategy. “It was effective, but everybody else, [Covington was] trying to throw [outside] and we made an adjustment. They hit the outside pitch and that’s how we got our runs. It’s nice to see because it’s something we haven’t been doing here early on in the season. I’m really proud of them. They made an adjustment.”

Cartersville began its rally when leadoff hitter Molly Wilson led off the third inning with a walk. After Hunter Irvin sacrificed Wilson to second base, and Mallory Jackson hit a deep fly out to left field, Kennedy Bailey came up with a clutch two-out single to drive home Wilson. Annalyn Yantis followed with a base hit of her own and Michaela Crowe hit another to give Cartersville its second run of the inning.

The two runs tied the game after three Cartersville errors allowed Southeast to score two runs in the top of the second inning.

“We got behind early and made a couple of errors, uncharacteristic errors, I thought, on bunts and they made it count,” Dietrich said. “I was glad to see that we came back. We were resilient.”

Cartersville would eventually take the lead in the fourth inning with two more clutch, two-out RBIs. Freshman shortstop Macee Cole led off the frame with a double down the right-field line. Brittany Huth then reached base on a strikeout and wild pitch, which allowed Cole to advance to third base. Huth then stole second.

Although Cartersville had runners on second and third with no outs, two subsequent strikeouts gave Southeast hope of getting out of the jam with no damage.

However, Jackson came through with a line drive double into the left-center field gap to score two runs. With the double, Jackson continued her streak of timely hitting after launching a game-tying, three-run home run against Pickens in Cartersville’s last game.

After Jackson, Bailey and Yantis walked to load the bases for Crowe, who hit her second RBI-single of the game, this time driving in two runs and giving the Lady Canes a 6-2 lead.

“Mallory came through again. Michaela Crowe came up big with three RBIs there. Kennedy Bailey is starting to come around. If she’s not hitting the ball, she’s starting to take her walks and that wears teams down, so we’re starting to do things right,” Dietrich said.

A 6-2 lead was more than enough run support for Yantis, who pitched a complete game and allowed just four hits, one walk and two unearned runs. Yantis began the game by getting the first batter to pop out and then struck out the next four batters she faced. The senior Samford commit went on to allow just one walk and no hits in the last four innings.

“She’s been carrying the load and that’s everything I expect of her,” Dietrich said of Yantis. “She knows that she’s a leader on this team and she’s in control out there. She’s pretty much untouchable. She just needs defense behind her and run support. That’s the name of the game.”

Cartersville will look for another strong performance from Yantis and the rest of the Lady Canes when they return to action Thursday at LaFayette.

Excel 6, Trion 5

The Excel softball team lost a three-run lead in the sixth inning Tuesday at home against Trion, and it appeared the Lady Eagles might have blown a chance to even their region record against one of the top region teams.

However, an RBI double by Lindsey Mauldin in the bottom of the seventh inning scored Savannah Sewell and gave Excel the victory.

“[Trion was] 5-1 coming into [the game]. They’re a quality team, quality coaches, quality players. We knew they were going to be tough,” Excel head coach Chad Parker said of the game. “It’s a good win.”

Mauldin had two doubles in the game and Rachel Parrott added two hits and two RBIs.

“[Parrott] has really come on this last week,” Parker said. “Our freshmen, her and Taylor Gibson, have both contributed well.”

In the circle, Sewell started the game and Aliza Baker came on in relief for the win.

“Savannah pitched really well. We had a couple of mistakes throwing the ball away behind her, but Aliza Baker actually came in and did a super job. She finished the game and did really well,” Parker said.

Excel now moves to 6-9 overall and 2-2 in region play. The team’s next game comes Thursday at home against Whitefield Academy.

Creekview 3, Woodland 1

In a rematch of last year’s first-round state playoff series, Creekview got the better of Woodland by a score of 3-1 Tuesday at Creekview.

Bailey Roberts led the Lady Wildcats with two hits, including a double, while Kereston Franklin and Brooke Rogers added a hit each.

Rogers pitched for Woodland and allowed just one earned run in six innings.

Woodland returns to action today with a game against Darlington at home.