SHELBYVILLE – When Lincoln County’s Riley Gusich launched a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning to break a 0-0 stalemate between Coffee County and Lincoln County in the District 8-AAA title game Thursday, it looked like the Lady Falcons were on their way to a championship.
But it simply woke a sleeping giant.
The Lady Raiders responded with nine runs in the home half of the fifth and added two more in the sixth to pummel Lincoln County 11-1 and claim the program’s eighth straight district championship.
“At the start of the year I told the girls it would take us some time to get everyone in the right position but I think we are peaking at the right time,” said CHS head coach Terry Floyd. “We crossed one goal off our list tonight now we have to win [in the region semi-finals] Monday night and start working toward a state championship, which is always our goal.”
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Lady Raider Tori Bell belted a two-RBI single to center field and Shelby Giles slammed a two-RBI double off the fence in left-center field before senior Anna Spellings smacked a three-run homer to cap the scoring for the inning.
“I had a pretty good feeling when I hit it and as I was rounding first base I saw it go into the trees,” said Spellings. “They beat us the first time we played this season and we wanted revenge, to beat them three times in a row shows what this team can do.”
The team stayed hot in the sixth with singles from Brianna Jones and Brittany Williams before Giles ended the game with a walk-off, two-RBI single to center field.
“It was an inside pitch and I knew I made solid contact,” said Giles. “I thought we all hit pretty good tonight; if we continue to hit and play with all our heart like we did tonight we can reach our goals.”
In total CHS out-hit the Lady Falcons 14 to one and made zero errors in the game.
Jones picked up eight strikeouts in six innings of work to earn the win. Her eight strikeouts improve her state-leading season total to 328.
The Lady Raiders will host the first round of the region tournament at 7 p.m. Monday night against the runner up from District 7-AAA. It is an elimination game. A win Monday and Friday of next week will put the team back in the TSSAA Spring Fling State Tournament.
“We have to continue to do the same thing we have been,” said Floyd. “The girls just need to keep having fun. We as coaches are going to put all the pressure on ourselves, I just want the girls to go out, be loose and have fun.”
Read more in next week’s (May 14) print edition of the Manchester Times. Call 931-728-7577 to subscribe.