Tigerettes seize 12-AA title
On Thursday night at Reese Hambrick Field in Lewisburg, the Marshall County Tigerettes needed just one win to take the District 12-AA Tournament title away from longtime foe Lewis County, and just like in the past, when these two teams meet, anything can happen.
The Tigerettes would eventually seize the title in a 10-5 win in game two, but the road to victory was as wild and whacky as many have witnessed in a long time.
"That team (Lewis County), I thought was the second best team all year long in the district, they came in with a four seed, but they are always good," said Cook. "They hit the ball great, I knew they were going to hit the ball and we had to hit with them. In the first game we left way too many people in scoring position and didn't get them in, but in the second game, we capitalized on that."
MCHS lost 6-5 to a Lady Panthers' comeback in game one, setting up a game two for the ages, complete with a near forfeit by Lewis County in the fifth inning after a misunderstanding over an apparent Panthers' illegal substitution took nearly 30 minutes to resolve, when in the end, the substitution was deemed perfectly legal.
In the first game, a Morgan Moyers go-ahead base hit in the fifth inning gave the Tigerettes a 4-2 lead before the Hohenwald girls came back to cut the MCHS lead to one run in the sixth on a run scoring single Leanna Amacher.
In the top of the sixth, Lewis County re-knotted the contest, and in the seventh, an RBI double by Kaylee Schmittou and a wild pitch gave the Lady Panthers a 6-4 lead, going into the final inning.
A pair of doubles by MCHS freshmen Ashton Watkins and Mecia Reed made it 6-5 ballgame before a shot back to the circle was snagged by Lewis County's winning pitcher Shelby Tiller, forcing a winner-take-all second game.
Lewis County struck first, scoring two runs on RBI base knocks by Kelby Reeves and Tiller in the first inning.
The Lewisburg girls got one run back in the bottom of the inning when Brianna Roberts doubled home Madison Thomason, who had singled with one out.
The visiting Big Cats kept the pressure on the Tigerettes, posting a pair of runs in the second on run scoring hits by Shiloh Cottrill and Reeves, making it a 4-1 ballgame.
Tiller escaped a two-on, two-out jam in the home half of the inning and Lewis County did not score in their at bat in the top of the third.
Thomason led off with a double in the bottom of the frame and Austyn Whaley followed with a single and stole second to put Tigerette runners on second and third.
After Tiller got a strikeout, Watkins drove home both runners with a double to right and Katie Crabtree tied the game with a single to right field that scored Watkins.
A fly ball to center accounted for out number two before Mary Medley drilled the eventual game winner over the second base bag, scoring Crabtree.
Kalie Hobbs found her third gear, shutting down Lewis County in the fourth, and in the home half of the stanza, Whaley bashed a lead-off homerun over the left field fence, making it 6-4.
Tiller was taken out of the game at that point and the Tigerettes would score two unearned runs after she left to take an 8-4 lead.
At the beginning of the next inning, confusion reigned.
After a long delay, the dispute was resolved and play resumed with Marshall County plating two more unearned runs to go way ahead at 10-5.
There was no scoring in the sixth inning, and in the seventh, Hobbs and the Tigerettes were ready to finish the job in a 1-2-3 inning to re-seize the district hardware.
"I never gave up on the girls, I knew they would come in ready to play," said Cook. "They thought all year long that they would be district champions and tonight they came in and proved it."
"That's huge," said Cook. "We love being home, we love playing in front of our fans, so that is a big boost for Monday."
In the doubleheader, the MCHS offensive attack was led by Thomason, who went (4-5) with two doubles, four runs scored, one RBI, a base on balls, and two sac bunts.
Medley put up a 4-7 night at the dish with three of her hits producing runs scored by courtesy runners Mary Kate McGehee and Allison Hargrove.
Reed had three hits in nine at bats with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Whaley went 3-8 with a homerun, three runs scored and an RBI.
Roberts (3-8, two doubles, one run scored, RBI), Moyers (3-7, one run scored, one RBI, HBP), Watkins (2-7, two doubles, three runs scored, two RBIs, base on balls), Crabtree (1-7, one run scored, one RBI, HBP), and Toseland (0-6, one RBI) rounded out the Tigerettes' scoring attack.
Hobbs took the complete loss in game one, surrendering three earned runs on 10 hits, while striking out four and walking three.
In the second game, Hobbs went the distance for the win, giving up two earned runs on five hits, while striking out three and issuing four bases on balls.
District 12-AA post-season awards were announced on Friday with Whaley being named Offensive Player of the Year and Roberts garnering the Defensive Player of the Year award.
Moyers, Watkins, and Hobbs were name All-District first team; Toseland was named on the All-District second team, and Medley and Crabtree earned Honorable Mention slots.