Demarco Moore, Sports Writer
After five innings of scoreless softball, Coffee County Central High School received the game’s biggest hit from one of its smallest players.
Junior Raven Rogers blasted a solo homerun in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving the Lady Raiders a 1-0 lead on District 8-AAA rival Lawrence County that would turn out to be the game-winning run.
Thursday’s game in Manchester turned out to be opening night for both teams after Monday’s game in Lawrenceburg was cancelled due to weather concerns.
The CCHS home crowd that braved the chilly night got to witness an epic pitching duel between reigning District 8-AAA pitcher of the year Kaylee Skipper and Lawrence County’s Maci Birdyshaw.
Skipper picked up the win for the Lady Raiders (1-0). She pitched a complete game, giving up only one hit and shutting down the Lady Wildcat batters with five strikeouts.
“Kaylee Skipper’s gonna’ always give us a big game,” said CCHS coach Steve Wilder. “She’s gonna’ always keep us in every game.”
Birdyshaw was even more lethal, striking out 15 Lady Raiders and giving up three hits in six innings of work. But it only took one hit to spoil Birdyshaw’s brilliant performance.
Katie Rutledge reached first base on a single in the bottom of the sixth inning, bringing Rogers to the plate to try to move her teammate into scoring position. But Rutledge was thrown out at second base on a bunt-and-run attempt missed by the Lady Raiders.
“Katie [Rutledge] getting thrown out was heartbreaking. Then [coach Wilder] is coming and yelling at me,” said Rogers.
“We had a bunt and run on, and she didn’t get the bunt down,” added Wilder. “So I have to make her mad.”
Rogers redeemed herself later in the at-bat, blasting the first homerun of her high school career into right field – the homerun that lifted CCHS to victory.
“The bunt and run, it just completely left my mind to ‘you gotta get it down no matter what,”’ she added.
NEXT GAME: at Shelbyville on Friday, March 17 (7 p.m. Weather permitting)
Red Raiders split double-header with Shelbyville
The Coffee County central High School baseball team split a double-header with District 8-AAA rival Shelbyville on Thursday night in Manchester.
Weather concerns pushed the Red Raiders’ original opening day game with the Golden Eagles from Monday in Shelbyville to Thursday night at Powers Field instead.
In game one, Shelbyville survived an 11-inning marathon that lasted just over four hours. The Golden Eagles won 4-2.
A.J. Rollman scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fourth inning, giving the Red Raiders (1-1) an early 1-0 lead. Grant Sadler drove in Noah Anderson on the next at-bat with an RBI single that made it 2-0 in favor of CCHS.
An error by the Red Raiders allowed Shelbyville to cut the lead to one run in the top of the sixth inning, and Logan Landers tied the game at two later in the inning on a sacrifice fly.
The score held at 2-2 into extra innings, where the Eagles would eventually prevail.
Noah Mason pushed a two-out single into play, giving Shelbyville the go-ahead run. Landers made it 4-2 on a wild pitch, giving CCHS one final chance to win or extend the game for another inning. But Garrett Eldridge and Colton Kerber both struck out before Jacob Langham grounded out to first base, ending the Red Raiders’ rally.
Game two didn’t come close to game one in terms of length, as the Red Raiders blew past Shelbyville for an 11-1 win.
The Golden Eagles scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the third inning – a sacrifice fly from Logan Landers to drive in the run.
However, Shelbyville’s lead and pitching came unraveled in the fourth inning, when the Golden Eagles committed four errors.
Nathaniel Tate loaded the bases after two Shelbyville errors put Jacob Langham and Noah Anderson on first and second. Cade Giles brought home Anderson with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at one.
A.J. Rollman hit an RBI single and reached on a fielder’s choice and later scored on a wild pitch. Jacob Duncan rounded off the four-run inning, bringing in another run after being hit by a pitch.
The Red Raiders would also score runs in each of the final three innings.
NEXT GAME: Home vs. Lincoln County on Tuesday, March 21 (6 p.m.)
HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS: The Coffee County Central High School girls tennis team opened their season with a narrow 5-4 loss to District 8-AAA rival Columbia.
Natalie Elzeer (8-5), Rachel Henley (8-3) and Baylee Nester (8-1) notched singles victories for the Lady Raiders, while Cara Roper and Elzeer overcame the Lady Lions in Coffee County’s lone doubles-match victory.
NEXT MATCH: Home vs. Warren County on Tuesday, March 21 (2 p.m.)
MIDDLE SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Coffee County Middle School’s Lady Raider softball team remained undefeated
(5-0) with a 9-6 home-win over Central Tennessee Conference rival Harris in Manchester.
Thursday’s game teetered back and forth for two innings.
The Lady Eagles raced out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning before Kiya Ferrell, Katie Crosslin and Jayden Scheller scored runs in the bottom of the first to tie the game at three. A 6-3 lead in the second inning would be the last for Harris.
Scheller scored the go-ahead run – her second of the game – in the bottom of fourth inning for CCMS, who scored six unanswered to pull away from Harris.
NEXT GAME: at Harris on Friday, March 17 (5 p.m. Weather permitting)
Westwood 15, Community 2
The Westwood Middle School softball team blasted Community 15-2 on Thursday night in Unionville.
Haidyn Campbell had a huge night on the mound and at the plate for the Lady Rockets (2-1), striking out 13 ViQueen batters while recording three of Westwood’s 15 total hits.
Allison Roberts and Kara Beth Patton drove in four runs for the Lady Rockets as well.
Westwood scored a total of 10 runs in the fifth and sixth innings to blow past the ViQueens in a game that was tied at 1 in the first inning.
NEXT GAME: Home vs. Cascade on Friday, March 17 (5:30 p.m. Weather permitting)
MIDDLE SCHOOL SOCCER: Westwood Middle School knocked off Cascade 5-2 on Thursday at Dyer-Bouldin Field.
John Martinez kicked things off with his team-leading fourth goal of the season in the seventh minute.
Lucas Workman and Eliot Sain tacked on two more goals to give the Rockets (3-1) a 3-0 lead only 13 minutes into match.
Sain and Connor Cravens would pad Westwood’s lead with one goal apiece.
NEXT MATCH: at Riverside Christian Academy on Monday, March 20 (5 p.m.)
MIDDLE SCHOOL TENNIS: The Westwood Middle School girls tennis team earned a 5-2 victory over Shelbyville.
Lauren Perry, Luz Basurto and Callie Roper won their individual matches, while the duo of Perry and Patricia Barrera won their doubles match to cap the Lady Rockets’ second-straight team win to begin the season.
The WMS boys tennis team fell 2-5 to Shelbyville, with J.C. Crouch and Jonathan Welch winning the only individual matches and also combining for a doubles victory.
Reach Demarco Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @iam__demo