Oak Hill’s Lady Raiders took advantage Tuesday of Heritage’s young team and lack of experience in the pitching circle, redeeming the team’s Monday afternoon loss to rival Starkvile Academy (3-2).
Oak Hill scored four runs in the first inning with left hander second baseman Anna Lummus starting off the hitting streak with a double hit into center field then scored on an RBI by Mary Helon Hays. Abby Falkner followed with a single hit to second base. Tori Ellis smacked a ball deep into left field garnering a double, sending both Hays and Falkner home.
Freshman Megean Ellis pitched her first game of the season, showing no signs of the back injury that’s been bothering her for weeks. It took Ellis a few batters to warm up, allowing the Lady Patriot’s their only two runs of the game during the first inning. She walked Heritage’s first two batters, Shiloh Ellis and Allie Lowe. Shiloh Ellis scored off an RBI by Katelyn Perry followed by Lowe’s scoring off an RBI bunt by Hannah Hawkins. Oak Hill’s Ellis struck out her next two batters and made the inning’s third out catching an infield fly. Ellis also enjoyed the support of a strong defense during Tuesday’s game.
Heritage’s pitcher, Lowe, was in trouble by the second inning, walking two batters, hitting one with the ball, and allowing ten runners into scoring position, and Oak Hill to score eight runs. Maegan Ellis singled on a fly to center field and scored on a single RBI by Lummus. Hays advanced to first after being hit by the ball; Allen walked and Luumus scored on a single RBI by Tori Ellis. First baseman Paige Dawkins sank a ball deep in left field sending both Hays and Ellis home. Ellis scored off a single RBI from Anne Stevens from a line drive to right field. Hunter Coleman would walk then score on a double RBI by Maegan Ellis hit to the left field fence.
Defensively, the Lady Raiders would make short work of the bottom of the second inning. Maegan Ellis caught an infield fly; short stop Tori Ellis caught a line drive; and Hays fielded a ball hit to third getting the runner out at first.
Oak Hill went on to score three more runs in the top of the third inning. Falkner was walked and advanced on singles by Tori Ellis and Dawkins. Falkner scored on an RBI by Stevens. Ellis and Dawkins scored on a single by double RBI by Maegen Ellis who hit the ball deep into left field.
The bottom of the third was another short one for the Lady Raiders, allowing no runs for Heritage. Hays fielded a pop up at third, Ellis struck out the second batter, and Hays threw out Heritage’s Kristen Phillps’ at first. Hawkins got a nice single hit in the hole in center field.
With a 13 point lead, head coach Marion Bratton began subbing batters in the fourth inning. Meg McBrayer went in for Allen and was walked along with Falkner and Tori Ellis. With the bases loaded and one out, Kim Kelly came in for Dawkins and the tennis stand out nailed a ball deep into the left field sending McBayer and Falkner home. Stevens, Coleman and Codi Williams would walk before Heritage’s Kristen Phillips was put in as relief pitcher.
Jackie Gates and Jessi Cole walked. Kelly and Stevens scored on walks. Lauren Hitt singled and brought in Codi Williams, followed by a single from Falkner who brought in Gates. Tori Ellis was walked, and Kelly gave a repeat performance and brought three runners home. Mary Campbell Gray came in for Stevens and singled into right field and brought Falkner home for the Raiders’ 25th run of the day. The game was called for a weather delay and ultimately a time delay. The Junior Varsity teams tied 9-9 with Tori Ellis in the pitchering circle.
In contrast to Oak Hill's team this year, "Heritage has a young team. They only had two older players return and no pitching staff," said Oak Hill assistant coach Laura Coats. In fact, the team's oldest player is junior Logan Waggoner and is primarily made up of ninth and seventh graders, so the team will have a couple years of growing said the assistant coach. The Lady Raiders had so many girls come out during spring try outs, they had to limit spots on the junior varsity team this year to two incoming eighth graders, Mary Campbell Gray and Kelci Jo Langford. The team is filled with skilled upper classmen, which both coaches hope the girls will work to their advantage at Carroll on Thursday. The Lady Raiders are now 4-1 and will play their first district game Thursday against Carroll Academy at 5 p.m. in Carrollton.