With her team clinging to a 6-5 lead with two outs in the bottom of the sixth on Wednesday, Carlie Baker cleared the bases with a bases-loaded single into center field, upping Tullahoma’s advantage to 9-5.
That hit became pivotal, as Lincoln County attempted a comeback in the seventh. That rally came up short, and the Lady Wildcats picked up a 9-6 home win over the Lady Falcons on Wednesday night.
Tullahoma was coming off its first home loss on Tuesday night, dropping a 9-0 decision to Lawrence County. During that contest, Tullahoma was limited to just two hits, as Lawrence County took advantage of six errors by THS, running away with the contest.
Jessica Edde and Madison Barnett were the two Tullahoma players who collected a hit.
Barnett also got the start for THS in the circle, tossing six innings. In her time pitching, Barnett allowed eight runs, seven of which were earned, on 11 hits, while striking out a batter.
Keiandra Seals tossed the final inning for Tullahoma, giving up just an unearned run, while striking out two batters.
Maci Birdyshaw got the start for Lawrence County in the circle. In five innings, she held Tullahoma to just two hits and a walk, while striking out nine batters.
Adeline Land tossed the final two innings for Lawrence County, only surrendering up a walk.
A day later against Lincoln County, Tullahoma found itself in a back-and-forth matchup. After trailing 4-3, the Lady Wildcats plated three runs in the bottom of the fourth, taking a 6-4 lead that they held on to for good.
Despite trailing, Lincoln County wouldn’t go away, plating a run in the top of the fifth inning, cutting its deficit to 6-5. After Tullahoma was held hitless in the bottom of the fifth, the Lady Falcons boarded a runner in the sixth, but couldn’t even the contest.
The Lady Wildcats took advantage in the bottom of the sixth, opening up a four-run advantage. Jenna Jones first reached on a walk, before Barnett got on base by an error. Kenzie Lenderman followed with a base hit into left field, loading the bases with one out in the inning.
Lila Saunders got on base after a fielder’s choice, which saw Jones get out at the plate. With two strikes against her, Baker came through with the biggest hit of the game, lining a single into center field, plating all three runners and giving Tullahoma a 9-5 advantage.
Lincoln County still refused to go away, loading the bases with one out in the top of the seventh. Breanna Haislip hit a sacrifice fly to right field, which allowed Anna Marie Thornton to score, cutting the Lady Falcons’ deficit to 9-6.
With two outs, Baker again came through with a clutch play for the Lady Wildcats, this time on the defensive end. On the first pitch she saw, Lydia Johnsey ripped a shot into left field, but Baker was able to get to the ball, nabbing it for the game-ending out.
“Carlie Baker has improved as much as anybody on this team,” said THS Head Coach Gary Barfield. “For a freshman to get that hit, in that situation, is unbelievable. I want to say she did the same thing at Lincoln County last week, in getting a huge hit at their place when we scored seven runs to win. Then to make that huge catch there in the gap in the seventh, that’s an ice-water-in-your-veins type of play right there for a 14-year-old.”
Offensively, Tullahoma had 11 hits in the win over Lincoln County. Saunders led the Lady Wildcats with three of those hits, while adding a pair of RBI. Meghan Prosser and Lenderman each added two base hits for THS.
“I think the bottom line [with our offense] is it’s nothing huge with our offensive approach, it’s whether they are ready to play mentally,” Barfield said following Wednesday’s game. “They were into the game mentally tonight, whereas last night, it was the total opposite. We didn’t communicate, we didn’t say anything and we went through the motions and that’s how you lose that bad. Against a team that is as good as a team that they saw last night in Lawrence County, you score nine and play that good defensively, it’s all between the ears.”
Jones got the start for the Lady Wildcats in the victory against Lawrence County on Wednesday, tossing the complete game. In her seven innings, Jones allowed six runs, five of which were earned, on eight hits and two walks, while striking out a pair of batters.
“She did a great job. I think she was starting to run out of gas there toward the end and we had Maddy [Barnett] loose, just in case. Jenna has a little bulldog in her. When it gets late, she will battle you hard and toughen up in the situation and that’s what she did. She’s got confidence in her coaches and the players behind her and has the confidence that she’s going to get it done.”
Following Wednesday’s matchup, Tullahoma will host Coffee County on Sunday for a makeup game. First pitch on Sunday is scheduled for 3 p.m.
On Tuesday, Tullahoma is scheduled to head to Manchester to battle Coffee County again. First pitch on Tuesday is scheduled for 6 p.m.