As they head into the second half of the region season, the Lady Wildcats kept sharp Wednesday at home against Darlington and came away with a 4-0 victory thanks to Brooke Rogers’ one-hitter.
“Brooke has been pitching well and she pitched well tonight,” Woodland head coach Colman Roberts said of the game Wednesday. “I was disappointed in our baserunning and our situational hitting, things that we have to correct tomorrow because we have Dalton and they’re third in our region. We’re tied with Cass for that fourth spot to even go to the region tournament, so it’s going to be real big tomorrow.”
Although today’s game carries more playoff significance, Rogers looked sharp in the tune-up Wednesday and made quick work of the Darlington lineup. She needed just 66 pitches to shut out the Lady Tigers and allowed two base runners in the game while striking out three.
The senior pitcher now has a county-best 1.20 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.
Meanwhile, at the plate, Woodland put runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings, but could not push a run across.
“It’s just situational hitting. We had [runners on first and second base], no outs, early in the count and we grounded out to third,” Roberts said of missed opportunities in the first and second innings. “It’s just unacceptable and we go over it all the time. We just have to start hitting. I’m kind of frustrated and I know they are, but there’s only one way to get out of that and that’s to keep hitting.”
The Lady Wildcats were able to eventually break through in the fifth inning thanks to two hits from the bottom of the batting order and some run production from the top.
No. 8 and 9 hitters, Valerie Glass and Sheena Craig, each began the inning with infield base hits. Leadoff hitter Bailey Roberts followed with a hit of her own to load the bases. Rogers would capitalize with an RBI single and Bridgett Hampton would then come through with a two-run single to give Woodland a 3-0 lead. Hampton’s hit was the fifth consecutive single in the inning.
“Their pitcher [Emily Swafford] is good. She throws hard,” Colman Roberts said of the merits of Woodland’s big inning. “She’s going to Armstrong Atlantic. She’s already signed.”
Woodland added an insurance run in the sixth inning thanks to a two-out rally. Glass hit a two-out double and Craig drove her in with a single up the middle to make the score 4-0.
Three Woodland batters had three hits in the game, including Rogers, Bailey Roberts and Glass. Sophomore Shelby Rainey also added a double. In total, Woodland had 10 hits in the contest.
The game was particularly significant as Woodland welcomed back one of its own Wednesday night in former Lady Wildcat Jessie Weaver. Weaver is now the head coach at Darlington, but has her number retired in right field after graduating in 2007.
Weaver was an all-state selection and was named the county player of the year in 2005 and 2006. She was named the Region 5-AAAA Player of the Year after hitting .417, with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs in 2006.
“We did a little something before the game when everybody stood for the national anthem, and we probably could have talked about [Weaver] for 30 minutes,” Colman Roberts said. “She was all-state every year, North-South all-star game. She’s doing well [at Darlington], but they only have 11 kids.”
The Lady Wildcats now move to 5-8 on the year and will try to avenge a 3-1 early-season loss to Dalton when they face the Catamounts today in Dalton.