Lady Bulldogs make it three straight over Richland
The age old sports adage says it’s hard to beat the same team three times in one season and after the Lady Bulldogs beat the Richland Raiders by a combined 22-3 in two early season district games, the longtime rivals found themselves paired together for a third time in the second game of the Zion Invitational on Saturday afternoon.
Just like the previous two meetings, the Lady Bulldogs were able to shut down the Raiders in the batter’s box and put down timely hits to beat Richland 7-1 to advance to the tournament finals versus the host, Zion Christian.
"The keys to any win are hitting the ball," Cornersville coach Eric Crabtree said. "We've got great pitching, great hitting, and we've got a team full of players that want to be out there. When you put the bat on the ball, good things happen."
The Lady Bulldogs put plenty of metal to the ball, finishing with eight hits in just four innings led by Kirsten Young with four RBI and a home run, Emma Mitchell with two RBI, with Mikaela King and Samantha Prosser dropping two hits apiece.
"(Playing Richland twice) helped us a little bit because we've seen how they hit and how they field and what they're pitching looks like," Young stated.
Cornersville picked up a dominant performance on the mound from King, who pitching a complete game (five innings), while giving up just four hits on four strikeouts with 16 first pitch strikes.
The Raiders scored first on a RBI single into left field in the second inning, but the Lady Bulldogs threatened in the bottom of the second before leaving the bases loaded.
Cornersville got into a jam in the top of the third as it was the Raiders turn to load the bases, but King struck out the final batter of the inning and went into the bottom of the inning trailing by one.
The lead did not last for long as Mitchell hit a leadoff double into center and Madison Hopkins advanced to first after being hit by a pitch, before Young stepped up to the plate and hit a deep shot into center field for the three-run home run.
"I was just trying to do the best I could because the last time I hit, I hit it off the end of my bat," Young explained. "So I was trying to wait and hit the best I could. I wasn't really looking for a home run, but that's what happened and I'm glad it did."
Cornersville tacked on another run as Prosser hit a single into center field and stole second and third base, before a Shasta Beaty ground out to shortstop brought home Prosser for a 4-1 edge.
The Lady Bulldogs added to their lead in the fourth when Aleia Childress drew a walk and Hannah Singleton knocked a double to the fence to bring home two more runs to make it a five-run game.
Young brought in the final run of the game with a single into left field for the 7-1 final.
"To win the next game we have to hit," Crabtree said. "If we hit, we win. Our statistics show that every time we hit the ball, we win."
Richland 010 00-1 4 2
Cornersville 004 3X-7 8 2
Cornersville: Kirsten Young 2-for-3, Samantha Prosser 2-for-3, Michaela King 2-for-3, Emma Mitchell 1-for-3, Payton Salsman 1-for-2
RBI: Young 4, Mitchell 2, Shasta Beaty
BB: Hannah Singleton, Beaty, Aleia Childress
RS: Mitchell 2, Singleton, Madison Hopkins, Young, Samantha Prosser, Childress
ROE: Mitchell, Samantha Prosser
FC: Mitchell, Singleton
HBP: Hopkins, Singleton
SB: Samantha Prosser 2
E: Young, King
WP: Michaela King (5IP, 4H, 1R, 0ER, 4K, 1BB)