By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels came to the office last Monday focused on their mission to take care of business against the St. George’s Lady Gryphons.
A clear favorite entering the doubleheader at TRA Softball Field, Head Coach Johnie Sanfratello wanted his girls to get some work in, have discipline at bats and put away both games early to prepare for a showdown with the USJ Lady Bruins.
TRA was able to sweep St. George’s 15-0 and 20-0 using hits from various players like Rachel Whitley, Charli Rice, Lexi Williams, Katie Diggs, Anna Claire Williams and more. Sophomore catcher Shelby Clifton nearly had a homer in each game crushing a triple to leadoff the Game Two.
“That’s one thing we’ve done really well this year in those situation, we’ve done what we’ve supposed to do,” Sanfratello said. “We got up there and have been selective waiting on their mistakes. We take advantage of it by swinging it. I’ve really proud of how they’re doing that this year.
“That’s one of the biggest difference between this year and the past,” he added. “A lot of times we’ll go up there without a plan. We know now we’ll probably not get a lot of strikes. But we’ve got to make up for it.We just put a bunch of hits together and swung the bats well.”
In the first game TRA scored 11 runs in the first inning. Whitley toed the rubber and shutdown the Lady Gryphons.
Sanfratello’s mission was for Whitley to get an inning of work in to loosen up her arm for the USJ matchup. Then Diggs entered the game at pitcher and closed out the victory with a couple innings of work.
The big offensive blow of Game One was a Clifton hit that nearly cleared the field.
“Shelby hit one off the wall,” Sanfratello recalled. “She must have skipped a set of squats today or something.”
Clifton squatted behind the plate to catch Rice in Game Two after getting the offense rolling with a triple.
“Same approach going into the second game,” Sanfratello said. “We’ve got to come out and be selective. We have to make her throw strikes and we’ve got to swing the bats like we know we’re capable of doing.”
TRA was capable of scoring 20 runs to lockdown that victory. Charli threw an inning and Diggs came in once again to put in some work.
The Lady Rebels took care of business against USJ winning 8-1 and 4-1 last week.