Tigerettes keep 12-AA hopes alive
With a loss sending either team to the sidelines for the rest of the season, Marshall County welcomed a familiar foe to Reese Hambrick Field on Tuesday when Giles County came to town for a District 12-AA Tournament elimination game.
Youth was served as two freshman pitchers, two freshman batters, and strong hitting performances from a bevy of sophomores allowed Marshall County to escape with a closer than expected 9-7 win over Giles County, a team the Tigerettes had beaten handily twice during the regular season.
"(Giles County) always plays us close in the district tournament," MCHS coach Heather Denton pointed out. "We always battle until the end it seems like. They past three years it's been us, so this year I knew they would come out strong. They're fighters and no one wants to go home. So they played us hard."
The Tigerettes got a strong six innings from freshman Brooklin Conger, striking out two and throwing an impressive 24 first pitch strikes.
"I hit my spots tonight was the main thing," Conger said. "I pushed as hard as I could even though (the umpire) told me I had to change my normal pitching stance. I just had to come through and help my team."
Marshall County was led in the batter's box by sophomore Hannah Sheppard with three hits with two of those driving in much needed runs.
"It's the tournament, so I just wanted to go out there and win," Sheppard stated. "Try to do the best that I can for my teammates and the people watching me. That's all I can do, try my best."
The Tigerettes also got three hits from freshman Savannah Wooten and three more from one of only two seniors on the team, Allison Sheroski.
"We hit the ball tonight," Denton added. "We hit the ball hard and we were aggressive on the bases. We never got caught stealing and when we needed a bunt, we bunted and made them made a play."
Marshall County looked like it was ready to run away with the game from the start after scoring four first inning runs with RBI from sophomores Taylor Walls, Sheppard and Kathryn Donahue, but Giles County pitcher Bianca Malone would hold the home team scoreless for the next two innings while the Bobcats added two runs in the third inning to close the gap to 4-2.
Another sophomore, Sydne Solomon, got in on the act to start the fourth inning with an RBI single to score Sheroski and Sheppard got her second RBI of the contest with a single to right field to score Solomon.
Alli Hobbs drilled a double to left to bring home Sheppard and the rout appeared to be on with a 7-2 Marshall County lead heading into the fifth inning.
The Bobcats made the game interesting in the top of the sixth when Malone helped her own cause with a bases loaded double to left field to bring the game to a 7-5 Marshall County lead.
The Tigerettes appeared to put the game away when Emily Martin hit a single up the middle to score another run and Wooten brought home Martin for a 9-5 lead heading into the final inning.
The Tigerettes brought in freshman Marlee Woodard to finish out the game, but the young pitcher started off the inning with two singles before a Bobcat player blasted a double deep into left field to cut the lead to just two runs with no outs.
"I knew that I had it," Woodard said. "My head is still full, it's Giles County, and it's a huge rivalry. But I'm out there for my team and I'm gonna come through in the end."
And come through Woodard did, as the freshman showed poise beyond her years, getting the next three Giles County batters to pop up to shortstop, ground out to second and fly out to right to end the game.
"Without the rest of my team, none of this would have been possible," Woodard said. "Without Brooklin pitching such a great game the first six innings I wouldn't have been able to finish the game like that. I couldn't have done that by myself, everyone else played a part in this win."
Giles County 002 003 2-7 12 3
Marshall County 400 302 X-9 15 3
Marshall County: Allison Sheroski 3-for-5, Savannah Wooten 3-for-4, Hannah Sheppard 3-for-4, Sydne Solomon 2-for-4, Ali Hobbs 2-for-3, Emily Martin 2-for-3
RS: Sheroski 2, Solomon 2, Sheppard 2, Leah Hollingsworth, Courtney Edde, Martin
BB: Hollingsworth 2, Taylor Walls, Hobbs
RBI: Sheppard 2, Hobbs, Walls, Solomon, Wooten, Martin, Kathryn Donahue
SB: Sheroski 2, Hollingsworth, Sheppard, Solomon, Edde
WP: Brooklin Conger (6IP, 9H, 5R, 3ER, 2K, 1BB)
Save: Marlee Woodard (1IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 0K, 1BB)