Tigerettes fall in Sunday district opener
For six innings on Sunday afternoon, the Marshall County Tigerettes outplayed Spring Hill in the opening round of the District 12AA Tournament.
Unfortunately for the Tigerettes, the one inning they lost was a frame in which the Raiders batted around in the lineup and put a mind boggling nine runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth to win the contest 9-4 and knock Marshall County down to the loser’s bracket on Tuesday night.
"Well we had, I believe, four errors (in the fourth inning)," MCHS coach Heather Denton pointed out. "And when we do not catch the ball or we do not make a play, then they are going to score and they got hits after that, so errors is what led to the loss."
Marshall County was in total control with a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth before the big inning by the Lady Raiders and Marlee Woodward came on in relief and did not allow a run in the final three innings, but the rally was too much as the Tigerettes could not chip away at the five-run lead, leaving five runners on base with four in scoring position in the final two innings.
"We had one inning where it was nothing but errors," Tigerette left fielder Hannah Sheppard stated. "I think coach said we ended up having like four and we gave those six runs (off errors), so if you take away those six its 4-3 and we have the ballgame."
"We've got to play every game like we played against Cascade and that's playing tight 'D' and being aggressive at the plate," Sheppard added.
Tigerette ace Brooklin Conger started on the mound for the blue and white and coasted through the first three innings as Marshall County took a 1-0 lead into the top of the fourth.
Lady Raider pitcher Layla Bennett got in trouble to start the inning as the Tigerettes loaded the bases before Savannah Wooten drilled a single up the middle to push the lead to 3-0 with no outs.
Conger helped her cause at plate by hitting a hard shot to the shortstop which allowed a run to score for a 4-0 lead, but Bennett slid out of the jam by forcing the leadoff hitter, Leah Hollingsworth, into a ground out to third base to end the Tigerette threat.
The Lady Raiders finally came alive in the fourth as Shelby Seacrest led off with a base hit, followed by a Gracyn Martin triple to the right center fence to put the first Spring Hill run on the board and trim the lead down to 4-1.
The maroon and white were just getting warmed up as Bennett brought home Martin with a double to the right field fence before Madison Bailey reached on the first of several Tigerettes’ errors in the inning.
Taylor Price knocked a single to right to load the bases and Mandy Bennett brought the lead down to one (4-3) by advancing to first after being hit by a Conger pitch.
Mattie Nelson reached first and tied the game on a right field error before Tailyn Crist gave the Raiders the lead at 5-4 with a ground out to shortstop.
Savannah Vernon followed with a single to right field that scored two more runs for a 7-4 lead before Denton went to the bullpen and brought in Woodward to finish off the inning.
Spring Hill finally put the dagger in the Tigerettes when Seacrest, batting for the second time in the inning, blasted a two-run home run over the left field fence to push the lead to 9-4 and essentially end the game.
"That (inning) most definitely took the wind out of us," Sheppard said. "I mean, everybody tried to stay up in the dugout and if Spring Hill can score nine runs in an inning, we can get nine, but 9-4 that's a big difference to overcome in three innings. It just hit us hard and I don't think we were really expecting that."
The Tigerettes refused to go down without a fight as Katherine Donahue knocked a two-out single into center in the sixth inning and after Woodward took first base after being hit by a Bennett pitch, Hollingsworth loaded up the bases with a single into left field.
But on a day that belonged to the Raiders, Bennett got Lexi Cashion to ground out to second base to end the inning with three Tigerette runners left on base.
Marshall County gave the comeback one last try as Sheppard hit a two-out single into left field and Alli Hobbs followed with a single up the middle, but Wooten harmlessly grounded out to second base and the Raiders advanced in the winners bracket while the Tigerettes will now face the loser of the Page and Giles County matchup.
"The key is going to be playing air tight defense," Denton explained. "I hate that we didn't play it today. We made more errors in one inning than we made in the past five games combined. So we've got to play air tight defense and just hit the ball. Four runs should win a ballgame for us."
Marshall County 010 300 0-4 7 2
Spring Hill 000 900 X-9 9 2
Marshall County: Savannah Wooten 2-for-4, Leah Hollingsworth 1-for-4, Hannah Davis 1-for-4, Hannah Sheppard 1-for-3, Alli Hobbs 1-for-3, Katherine Donahue 1-for-3
RBI: Wooten 2, Brooklin Conger, Donahue
RS: Sheppard 2, Taylor Walls, Hobbs
ROE: Walls, Sheppard
HBP: Hobbs, Marlee Woodward, Lexi Cashion
SB: Sheppard, Wooten
E: Wooten, Courtney Edde
DP: Taylor Walls, Leah Hollingsworth, Brooklin Conger
LP: Brooklin Conger (3.2IP, 5H, 7R, 2ER, 2K, 0BB), Marlee Woodward (2.1IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 0K, 0BB)
Spring Hill: Shelby Seacrest 2-for-4, Madison Bailey 2-for-3, Taylor Price 2-for-3, Savannah Vernon 1-for-4, Mandy Bennett 1-for-3, Gracyn Martin 1-for-4
WP: Mandy Bennett (7.0IP, 7H, 4R, 1ER, 5K, 1BB)