By Anthony S. Puca
Freddie Howard was on the bench Tuesday night in Giles County, managing the 13-14 year old Marshall County softball All-Star team because their regular manger Chris Roberts was serving his suspension from Saturday night's unfortunate player substitution miscue and the girls came together and brought home the title with a 7-5 victory.
"I was the most nervous person on the team, Howard said, but after the first inning I got calm and my girls got calm. Everything fell into place. These girls were determined to win this game and bring the title home to Marshall County."
Marshall County scored two unearned runs in the first inning when Kaameria Howard reached on an error by the third baseman, Bethany Vanhooser followed with a walk, and both runners moved up on a wild pitch and subsequently scored on another error by the Giles County catcher.
Lori "Tree Frog" Pearson was in the circle for Marshall County and held Giles County scoreless until surrendering one run in third inning to make it 2-1.
The Marshall County squad scored three more in the fourth inning when Howard again led off by reaching on an error. Marshall County put runners on second and third when Whitney Byrd doubled and Howard raced home on an RBI single by Candace Caneer to make it 3-1. Another Giles County error pushed two more runs across and Marshall County was in control at 5-1.
Pearson survived jams in the fourth inning and the sixth inning, but managed to escape unscathed on both occasions. Marshall County added two runs in the fifth to take a commanding 7-1 lead into the last inning.
Giles County would not quit in front of the home crowd as they got their first five runners on base in the top of the seventh, scoring four runs. Howard came out of the dugout to try to calm Pearson down with two strikes on the last batter and the bases loaded and it worked as she whiffed her to send Marshall County to the State Tournament.
"She got two strikes on the last batter and I went out and told her to throw the heat just one more time, Howard said. Lori never got rattled; she always had a smile on her face."
"These girls fought from the first inning to the last and came together. We are State bound!"