By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels are preparing for something special in the 2016 season.
Johnie Sanfratello’s Lady Rebels have experienced the ultimate success winning the 2014 Division II-A State title. Sanfratello trying to tap into his team’s potential this season scheduled early-season tournaments in Jackson, Tenn., and Gulf Shores, Ala.
The Lady Rebels returned home March 28 to take on the Covington Lady Chargers at Lady Rebel Field. It appeared TRA still had some kind of offensive hangover losing their home opener to Covington 5-1.
“We saw a lot real good team,” Sanfratello said. “But we gave two games away that we shouldn’t have given away. And it seems to have carried over.
“It’s been two or three games in a row like that,” he added. “Our sticks haven’t done much like tonight. She did a great job of changing up locations and moving the ball. But we didn’t come ready to hit.”
Lady Charger ace Anna Adkison kept TRA hitters in neutral most of the game. The Lady Rebels managed to take a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Abby West started things with a double. Two batters later Katie Diggs reached base getting plunked by a pitch.
Lady Rebel Anna Claire Williams was at the plate when Sanfratello called for a double steal. While Diggs was being thrown out at second base, West crossed home plate giving TRA the lead.
“We’re getting a lot of good cuts,” Sanfratello said. “We’re seeing good pitching which is supposed to get us ready for this. Right now we make defensive mistakes giving folks extra outs. That’s the key right now – extra outs. When you give teams extra outs, you can’t stop the bleeding. It goes on and on.”
In the sixth inning, the Lady Chargers took advantage of TRA miscues to produce a two-run frame. Treasury Poindexter was the first Lady Charger to reach base with a bunt. The speedster took advantage of a Lady Rebel error to score easily.
Covington broke the 1-1 tie when Neeley Glenn crushed a double setting up an RBI chance for Adkison. The pitcher gave herself run support with a bloop single.
The Lady Chargers added some insurance in the seventh inning to win the game 5-1. The Covington defeat dropped TRA to 7-6 on the season and left Sanfratello with some questions.
“We’re going to move folks around, try something different,” he concluded. “That’s all we can do right now. We’re going to peak at the right time. That’s what I hope we’re doing, building for that.”