By Thomas Sellers Jr.
CORDOVA — Three plus three equals six. The Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels used that formula late April 2 to pick up their fourth win of the game.
TRA’s No. 6 Mady Kate Gantt used three pitches to close out the fifth inning against the ECS Lady Eagles. Then in the Lady Rebels half of the sixth inning Gantt concluded the game with a three-run homer over the ECS Softball Field Stadium fence. Her fourth hit of the day ended the contest giving TRA a 15-3 victory.
“I really just wanted to get it over with,” Gantt acknowledged. “I was not expecting that. Daddy told me to get up there and, ‘Swing for me just one time.’
“I had no idea it was even over,” she added. “I think my Daddy was more excited than I was.”
With David Gantt cheering from behind the fence in the cold rain, Gantt rounded the bases after her 200-foot blast.
Gantt started the game with a leadoff triple. But she was left stranded at third base to close out the first inning.
In the second inning the Lady Rebels would cash in on their big hits when Jordan Collins led off with a double. Her teammate Brooklyn Simpson drove her in with a single.
TRA placed four runs on the board in the inning with Sally Downing and Bayleigh Nale driving in RBIs with a double and single respectively.”
ECS made the score 4-1 in the third inning. For the most part Lady Rebel starting pitcher Ashton Needham neutralize the Lady Eagles seven strikeouts in the first four innings.
It was the fourth inning that produced five more runs for TRA. Gantt doubled to score a run making the tally 5-1.
Then Lady Rebel freshman Taylor Beasley drove in the next run with a ground out. In TRA’s first five games, Beasley has been one of Head Coach Joe Layton’s additions helping the Lady Rebels be competitive in league play.
New players like Beasley, sophomore Bethany Berger and the Downing sisters of Sally and Sarah Kate have helped TRA jump out to a 3-0 league record. And veteran players like Simpson and Gantt have change positions this season.
Gantt will split time between the outfield and pitching circle. And Simpson, a former pitcher and third baseman, will be catching her.
“We are very movable,” Gantt said. “We adjust well. We’re adjustable. Whatever position Coach Layton puts us at, we do our job.
“I love Taylor Beasley behind me at bat,” she added. “If I get on, I trust her. We have our little communication. I have key words and she knows.”
The duo of Gantt and Beasley made the score 6-1. Then Collins got into the act with a double that scored a run. Simpson closed out the rally with her second RBI single to make the score 9-1.
Ahead 9-2 in the fifth inning, Needham smacked a single to score Sally Downing and Beasley to make the score 11-2.
ECS tried to rally in the bottom of the fifth scoring a run. With the consistent rain, the ball became slippery in the grasp of Needham. With a style of striking out batters high in the zone, her pitchers started to sail too far up leading to walks.
Layton decided to make the pitching change to Gantt with two outs. Gantt closed out the inning with three straight strikes.
In the sixth inning, TRA made the score 12-3. And with two runners on base, Gantt stepped to the plate and took the advice of her father. Her one swing crushed the ball through the rain for a walk-off homer.
Despite winning 15-3 and improving to 4-1, Gantt said the Lady Rebels see room for improvement.
“It can only get better,” she said. “We do make errors and our hitting needs some work sometimes. And our fielding needs work sometimes.
“But as long as we stay focused, motivated and working as a team I think we can do anything,” Gantt concluded. “We just have to keep each others heads up and keep our heads up. We don’t play for ourselves. We’re a team.”