Tigerettes take down Lincoln County before embarking for Gulf Shores

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Hannah Shepard eyes Lincoln County pitcher Shelby Bryant before nearly knocking a home run over the center field fence, but instead settled for a double.
Tribune photos by Mike Inglsbee

Following an easy 8-1 win over BGA on Thursday night to open up the annual Southern Warrior Classic in Murfreesboro, the MCHS Tigerettes (5-1) returned to the field against 3A Lincoln County on Friday night before heading down to the beach for the Gulf Shores Tournament over spring break.

The game remained knotted at 0-0 until Marshall County tacked on two runs in the fourth and fifth innings and finished the game off strong with four more runs in the final frame to take home an 8-1 win over the Falcons (6-5).

"I have a lot of respect for Lincoln County," MCHS coach Wes Woods stated. "Of course (former MCHS coach) Reese Hambrick is one of the coaches so you know they're gonna be solid. I'm just glad we could come out with a win."

Hambrick was at the helm of the Tigerettes when they won their only state softball state title in the 2004-2005 season and the softball field in Lewisburg is named after the coach.

Freshman pitcher Claire Woods picked up her fourth win of the year for the Tigerettes by allowing four hits over six innings with just one walk allowed and a strikeout.

Woods took a no-hitter until the final out of the fourth inning.

"My game plan going in was to just keep the ball low," Woods acknowledged. "I have a great defense behind me so it wasn't really anything that I did by myself. It was an all-around team effort."

Woods also led the Tigerettes in the batter’s box with an RBI double in the third and an RBI single in the sixth.

Western Kentucky commitment Sydne Solomon led Marshall County with three quality at-bats by picking up a double and two walks, while Hannah Shepard brought home two runs with a double and Savannah Wooten also contributed a double.

"Coach Woods told us going in that she was a fast pitcher and we needed to have quick hands going in so after the first three innings we started getting our timing down and after that it was shorten our stance, look at the inside of the ball and just take your hands to the ball," Shepard explained. "We knew that she was throwing a lot outside, so if you just throw your hands she was supplying the power for you so the ball was just gonna go."

Senior shortstop Leah Hollingsworth leads off the game against Lincoln County in the Southern Warrior Classic on Thursday night.

The first three innings were a classic pitching duel with Lincoln County pitcher Shelby Bryant allowing just one hit (Solomon double) and striking out five and Woods holding on to a no-hitter with just one walk before the start of the fourth inning.

Wooten and Solomon both drew walks to start the inning before Woods smashed a double up the middle for a 1-0 lead before a bad throw to third base allowed Solomon to trot home and push the lead to 2-0.

The Falcons cut the Tigerettes’ lead to 2-1 after Matty Pierce opened the fifth inning with a single and Emma Summers brought Pierce home with a double into left/center before Woods sat down the final three batters to end the threat.

Naomi Hopper awaits the pitch during the fourth inning of the Tigerettes win over 3A Lincoln County.

The Tigerettes finally solved the Bryant puzzle in the sixth inning with Wooten opening up the inning with a double off the top of the left field fence and Solomon drew a walk before Woods delivered again with an RBI single up the middle.

Shepard delivered the knockout blow with a deep shot off the center field fence to push the lead to 6-1 and all but put the game out of reach.

The Tigerettes headed down to Gulf Shores to take on Hewitt-Trussville, AL and Thompson AL on Tuesday.

"This is a very coachable team," Woods mentioned. "They've got a lot of grit and they battle. They're a pretty close knit group from what I can tell, so I'm proud to coach such a good group of kids."