Despite being one of only two Class A programs in the tournament field, the Cornersville Lady Bulldogs (21-2) showed that they are a team to be reckoned with at the Coffee County Classic, as they posted a pair of shutout victories in their first two pool games on Friday.
In their opening contest, the Lady Bulldogs squared off against defending Region 4-AAA champ Coffee County, who came into the day with an impressive 17-3 record and averaged a healthy 6.2 runs per game. CHS, however, proved to be more than equal to the challenge, as senior pitcher Savannah Cole out dueled Lady Raider staff ace Casey Vincent, while leftfielder Katie Pigg accounted for both Cornersville runs to help lead the Lady Bulldogs to 2-0 victory in the six innings.
"I think we're getting what we came over here for. We're facing some better competition than we normally face," said Cornersville coach Spencer Mitchell. "On a given day we can beat a top team, but we can also get beat on a given day by a slightly lesser team. The margin of error between winning and losing a close game against a good team is pretty small."
Cole stifled Coffee County's usually potent offensive attack, yielding just two hits and a walk in the contest to go along with nine strikeouts.
Cornersville, meanwhile, mustered just three hits and a walk against Vincent, but saw all three hits go for extra bases. Pigg tallied a double, a RBI, and a run scored to lead CHS offensively, while Erica Blackwell and Summer Cole each doubled as well with Blackwell scoring a run.
The Lady Bulldogs had a chance to get on the board in the top of the first inning when Cole led off the inning with a double and advanced to third with one out on a wild pitch, but Vincent retired the next two Cornersville batters on a strikeout and a pop out to snuff out the CHS threat.
Neither team managed to reach base again until the top of the fourth when the Lady Bulldogs pushed across two runs on two hits to grab a 2-0 lead. Blackwell belted a leadoff double prior to advancing to third on a passed ball. Pigg then roped a double into the right centerfield gap to plate Blackwell and give CHS a 1-0 advantage. After Lori Beth Adams was hit by a pitch, both runners advanced 60 feet on a groundout by Amanda Griggs, before Pigg raced home on a wild pitch by Vincent for Cornersville's second run of the inning.
Coffee County then stranded a runner at third in the bottom of the fifth, but the Lady Raiders put together a last ditch rally attempt in the sixth when Shelby Davis reached on a bloop single and Cheyenne Willis drew a walk to put runners on first and second with two outs. Cole, however, bore down and retired Leslie Keele on an infield pop up to secure the victory for the Lady Bulldogs.
Following their triumph over Coffee County, Cornersville had an easier time with Class AA Hume-Fogg in their second contest and drubbed the Lady Knights 6-0 in six innings. The Lady Bulldogs teed off on Hume-Fogg pitching and pounded out 12 hits overall with four going for extra bases.
Blackwell went 3-4 with a double, a RBI, and two runs scored to lead Cornersville at the plate, while Pigg added a pair of singles and 2 RBI. Adams and Lindsey Dalton each tallied a pair of hits and a RBI as well, and Griggs had a single and a RBI. Makenzie Hopkins and Summer Cole also notched one hit apiece and scored a run for CHS.
Summer Cole, meanwhile, went the distance in the circle to earn the victory and limited Hume-Fogg to just three hits and two walks in six scoreless innings of work while racking up 11 strikeouts.
Cornersville grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Blackwell scored on a two-out RBI single by Adams after singling and advancing to second on a groundout by Pigg.
The Lady Knights then left runners at first and second in the bottom of the first, but had a golden opportunity to get on the board in the second when they loaded the bases with no outs on a Maggie Bates single and two walks. Cole, though, escaped the jam by sandwiching a pair of strikeouts around an infield popup by Danielle Rucker to preserve CHS' lead.
Those two missed opportunities quickly came back to haunt Hume-Fogg, as the Lady Bulldogs pushed across two runs in the top of the third to open up a 3-0 advantage. After doubling with two outs, Adams came home on a RBI single by Griggs to make it 2-0, before courtesy runner Brittney Crowell advanced to second on a wild pitch. Dalton then laced a RBI triple into the right center field gap to drive in Crowell.
In the fourth, CHS continued to expand their lead by notching two more runs on two hits and a Lady Knight error to forge a 5-0 advantage. Hopkins reached base on an error to lead off the frame before advancing to second on an Alex Wolaver sacrifice bunt. Blackwell then plated Hopkins with a RBI double to make it 4-0 prior to racing home on a Pigg RBI single.
The Lady Bulldogs then tacked on another run in the sixth to stretch their lead to 6-0 when Cole scored on an infield single by Pigg after doubling and advancing to third on a Blackwell groundout.