Two-run sixth produces 3-2 win over Western –
By Mark Carpenter –
Down by a run in their season opener as they came to bat in the bottom of the sixth, the Manchester Lady Greyhounds rallied with four solid at-bats to score twice and than hang on to post a 3-2 win over the visiting Western Latham Lady Indians.
“We had four really good at-bats there in the sixth inning,” said Manchester head coach John Kennedy. “It was nice to see our kids come through in that situation. We had some fielding miscues that led to their runs, but other than that we were pleased with what we saw. We hit the ball hard, but to their credit, they made plays.”
It was a successful high school debut for the coach’s daughter Brooke, who starred on the mound and at the plate. Brooke Kennedy pitched a complete game without allowing an earned run, striking out six, and at the plate, went 2 for 2 and scored 2 runs, producing the game-tying base hit in the bottom of the sixth.
“Brooke was solid in her debut,” said Coach Kennedy. “She left a couple of pitches up, but other than that she was good. She threw 67 strikes out of 93 pitches.”
Neither team dented the scoreboard for the first three innings, though Western saw a scoring chance snuffed out in the top of the first when the Lady Hounds perfectly executed a rundown between third and home that cut off a Lady Indians runner trying to score. Western finally broke the scoring ice in the top half of the fourth, taking advantage of a pair of Manchester errors in the outfield to plate a pair and take a 2-0 advantage.
The Lady Hounds got one of those runs back in their half of the fourth when Kennedy led off with a walk, went to second on a passed ball and third on a throwing error, then came across the plate on a base hit to left by battery mate Josie Campbell.
Kennedy held the Lady Indians scoreless in their next two at-bats, and the game was decided when the Lady Hounds came to bat in the bottom half of the sixth inning. Third baseman Karley Young led off the inning by drawing a walk on a 3-2 pitch and came home to tie the game when Kennedy stroked a two-base hit to left center. Kennedy moved to third when Campbell lined a base hit to center and the go-ahead run came home when senior second baseman Katie Sandlin did her job, lifting a sacrifice fly to center that scored Kennedy for a 3-2 Manchester lead.
In the top of the seventh, the Lady Indians threatened with a two-out double, but Kennedy retired the next batter on a comebacker to the mound and the Manchester squad could celebrate a one-run victory in their season opener.
“We did have some fielding miscues, but we also made some nice defensive plays,” said Coach Kennedy after the win. “We executed that rundown in the first after Aaliyah (Smith) made a great throw from center to the plate. Taylor Morrison made a great diving catch in foul territory down the right field line and Madison Jones was flawless at shortstop. It’s good to start the season with a win.”
Western actually outhit the Lady Hounds 6-4, and all four of the Manchester hits came from the bats of Kennedy and Campbell, as they went 4 for 5 between them.
If the weather cooperated, the Lady Hounds were slated to play at West Union on Tuesday in what would be their Southern Hills Athletic Conference opener for 2018. On Wednesday, March 28, they were to be in SHAC play again, hosting the Eastern Brown Lady Warriors.
Western Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Penwell 4-0-0-0, J. Haggy 3-0-0-0, Tong 3-0-2-0, Whitt 4-0-2-0, Legg 3-0-0-0, Tackett 3-0-0-0, C. haggy 3-1-0-0, Stevens 3-0-1-0, Gray 3-1-1-1, Team 29-2-6-1.
Extra-Base Hits: Tong 2B
Manchester Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Smith 3-0-0-0, Young 2-1-0-0, Kennedy 2-2-2-1, Campbell 3-0-2-1, Sandlin 2-0-0-1, Bell 3-0-0-0, Lucas 2-0-0-0, Taylor 1-0-0-0, Jones 2-0-0-0, Morrison 2-0-0-0, Grooms 0-0-0-0, Team 22-3-4-3.
Extra-Base Hits: Kennedy 2B
Western Pitching: J. Haggy (L) 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Manchester Pitching: Kennedy (W) 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K