By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Two of the best teams in the Shelby-Metro area convene Friday at Lady Rebel Field for a pair of 5-inning games.
The visiting St. Benedict Lady Eagles were ahead 6-5 in the fifth inning when Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels sent eighth-grader Abby West to the plate with Katie Diggs standing on first base.
With one out, West smoked a pitch deep into the outfield sending the action into hyper speed. In the middle of the chaos, TRA Head Coach Johnie Sanfratello waved West toward home plate as the St. Benedict relay throw entered the infield.
West slide between the legs of the Lady Eagle catcher with her feet resting on home plate and the tag on her legs. The umpire called her out. Instead of winning the gave 7-6, the contest was deadlock at 6-6 leading to extra innings.
St. Benedict used an 8 run seventh inning including a grand slam homer to win 15-9.
“Looking back, of course hindsight is 20/20, I should have held her at third,” Sanfratello acknowledged. “We’re already in scoring position with one out. But I saw the relay go the second baseman. Since it didn’t go all the way in, I took a chance. I thought she was in there. He called her out.”
In the first game TRA received RBIs from Shelby Clifton and Diggs in the first inning to take a 2-1 lead. St. Benedict answered back in the second inning with 3 runs to jump ahead 4-2.
In the bottom of the second inning TRA’s Lexi Williams drove in a run to trim the deficit to 4-3.
St. Benedict added a run in the third inning to make the score 5-3. Once against TRA had a reply with West driving in Rachel Whitley, who doubled in her at bat.
The 5-4 score became 5-5 when Clifton drove in teammate Taylor Beasley with a base hit in the fourth inning. St. Benedict regained the lead in the top of the fifth inning.
TRA managed to tie the game in regulation when Diggs scored on West’s hit. Both team went scoreless in the sixth inning setting the table for a huge inning for St. Benedict.
The Lady Eagles jumped ahead 10-6 when St. Benedict crushed the hopes of the Lady Rebel faithful with a grand slam home run to make the score 14-6.
“To focus for seven inning, defensively we’ve got to stay focused for seven innings,” Sanfratello concluded. “We didn’t swing the bats well tonight. It was not like the girl was overpowering. We just didn’t make the adjustments we needed there.”
The Lady Rebels kept their focus in the second game winning 8-7.