Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tiger Softball Downs Todd Simmons' Cardinals, Wins Fourth Straight

Worth County's softball team went down for the count against North Andrew, the second time in a row that happened. But once again, they crawled back off the floor, got the lead after a 30 minute rain delay, and then got some badly needed insurance runs in the sixth inning to pull away for a 9-5 win. North Andrew had been a powerhouse team the last few years, but Worth County finally tagged them last year with a 12-11 victory late in the season. The Cardinals had a whole new team this year, but Worth County fought back for the win. For Worth County, they have won 10 out of their last 11 games dating back to last year.

With one out in the first, Payton Adwell dug one out and lined it into left center field for a hit and came around to score when Anna Gladstone hit a line drive that sliced away, aided by an east wind that blew everything towards the line. But it dropped on the line fair and Gladstone was in standing up with a double while Adwell scored.

North Andrew went 1-2-3 in the first, but Aeriel Rutherford hit a drive that caromed off centerfielder Anna Gladstone's glove, and she reached second. Despite the fact that the bottom of the order was coming up, that opened up the floodgates. She advanced to third on a wild pitch and then Shaylynne Carter got down a bunt that a charging Rachael Gardner picked up and threw to Payton Adwell behind the plate. Adwell tried to nail Rutherford in a rundown, but the throw hit her and she came home as Carter took second. Kalee Black singled and stole second and Haley Hunt fought the strike zone and proceeded to walk in two batters. Gabby Chambers singled in another run to make it 4-1, but then Anna Gladstone snared Allei Grace's fly ball and doubled off Kaylee Officer from second for a double play to get out of the inning. That meant that instead of Worth County down several runs with little chance to catch up, they were still in the game if they could stop the bleeding.

They settled down and got the Cardinals 1-2-3 and then got right back into the game with a two out rally in the third. Sidney Troutwine and Payton Adwell grounded out, but then Anna Gladstone beat out a slow roller to second to keep the inning alive. Haley Hunt walked and then Rachael Gardner singled in Gladstone. Kennedy Galanakis hit a carbon copy past short to score Hunt and the cutoff throw rolled a few feet away from short, allowing Gardner to take third. That was a big item as she came home on a wild pitch to tie it at 4.

Kaylee Officer singled in Atheah Roberts in the fourth to put North Andrew back up 5-4 before a rain delay shut down the teams for half an hour after the Tigers went in order in their half of the fourth. North Andrew looked to add to their lead as Rutherford singled, but then Shaylynne Carter was called out as she contacted the ball in play following a bunt and Kalee Black was called out on strikes. North Andrew had been solid in the field through four innings, but then Payton Adwell's fly ball caromed off the left fielder's glove in fair territory for three bases; she came home on a wild pitch to tie it at 5. Haley Hunt singled and the center fielder let it get by her as she cruised into second; she stole third and came home on a wild pitch, as Worth County scored yet another run with two outs to take a 6-5 lead. Five out of their first six runs were scored with two outs.

After the rain delay, Cardinal pitcher Aeriel Rutheford was fighting the strike zone; the slick ball made it challenging for both pitchers. Kaylee McElvain walked to start the sixth inning. Kristin New flied out, but Sidney Troutwine hit a fly ball that sliced away from the left fielder and landed in fair territory for a double to put runners on second and third. Payton Adwell grounded out to score McElvain and then Anna Gladstone roped a hard grounder fair past first and into the corner. She stretched a single into a double as Troutwine scored. Haley Hunt was plunked and then Rachael Gardner beat out an infield hit to short and Anna Gladstone once again made her daredevil style of baserunning count as she scored all the way from second for a badly needed insurance run to make it 9-5. Seven of Worth County's nine runs were scored with two outs.

North Andrew made things interesting in the seventh after Kaylee Officer tried to bunt, but Haley Hunt threw her out at first. She plunked Gabby Chambers and then walked Allei Grace on four pitches. Anna Gladstone's dash from second was huge as that meant that the tying run was still in the on-deck circle. The next at bat was a long one as Haley Hunt battled Aeriel Rutherford, who had hit the ball well all day. But finally, Hunt froze Rutherford on a 3-2 pitch for a called third strike to get to Shaylynne Carter. Carter went down in the count 0-2 and hit what would have been a screamer for extra bases, but it went foul past first. She then fouled off one more and then hit a pop fly that was pushed by the east wind just out of second baseman Victoria Moore's reach. But finally, Carter hit a slow roller that Moore easily fielded for the final out.

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