Softball teams play make-or-break games
by Jason Greenberg
Oct 08, 2013 | 1121 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cartersville softball third baseman Maddie Geiger has a goal this season. She wants her Lady Canes to reach the Elite 8 of the state tournament.

The senior went a long way in helping her team accomplish that goal Monday when she hit a three-run double in the third inning to lead Cartersville past North Murray, 4-1, and advance to the state tournament.

“We have this long-term goal of the Elite 8 and I think that’s what we’re all working towards. That’s what I hoped we would do as a team,” Geiger said. “There’s a lot of pressure because I feel like everybody follows what me and the other seniors do, so it’s important to always try as hard as you can.”

Geiger and the rest of the Lady Hurricanes responded to that pressure during their four-run third inning. Cartersville trailed 1-0 heading into the frame. However, after Hunter Irvin and Mallory Jackson reached base, Kennedy Bailey lined a single to the outfield to load the bases. With two outs, Annalyn Yantis walked to tie the game at one apiece.

The next batter was Geiger, who delivered a long ball off the left field fence to clear the bases.

“That was a huge, clutch hit. She was aggressive during the count and she was doing the things we worked on, like getting under the ball,” Cartersville head coach Rick Holsomback said. “With the wind blowing in today, I didn’t think anybody was going to hit it that far. Absolutely, a home run on another day, without a question, but she did her job. She brought the runs in.”

“I’ve never hit [a home run] before, so I wasn’t thinking that at all. I thought [the outfielder] was going to catch it,” Geiger said after the game.

The four-run inning was all Yantis needed in the pitcher’s circle as she shut down the North Murray lineup the rest of the way.

Yantis was helped by a strong defensive effort. Geiger made seven putouts in the game, while Annie Holsomback made three critical plays at shortstop.

“We have a new drill called ‘keep it clean,’” Rick Holsomback said. “They like it and it ramps up intensity. I think it helps.”

“I just think, at practice, [Holsomback] hits it hard at us on purpose, so [groundballs] just become routine when we get in games,” Geiger said. “It makes it a lot easier.”

Cartersville just needed to win one game in the region tournament to advance to the state tournament. The team did so by beating North Murray and, as a result, Holsomback can exhale.

“I don’t take anything for granted,” he said. “North Murray is a good team. They have a number of good hitters. We just got luck today.”

Cartersville, the second seed in the region tournament, will play top-seeded Ringgold Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Hamilton Crossing. If the Lady Canes win that game and the next one, they will be region champions. If they lose to Ringgold, they will need to win three straight games to win the region, which includes beating Ringgold twice.

Either way, Cartersville took a huge stept Monday by qualifying for the state tournament.

“We sort of crossed a hump today,” Holsomback said. “We have short-term goals and we have long-term goals. We are meeting them one step at a time. Our next goal is a region championship.”

Cass wins thriller

No matter how close the game gets or how dire his team’s chances of reaching the state playoffs get, Cass softball coach Greg Hight does not worry.

That is because Hight has confidence in his senior-laden team, which came through twice on Monday at Heritage Point by beating Gilmer and Pickens County to move within one game of qualifying for the state playoffs.

The Lady Colonels won easily in their first game against Gilmer, 5-2. However, their second win came in eight inning and required five runs in the seventh and eighth innings to defeat Pickens County, 7-3, and keep the team’s state hopes alive.

“The girls were playing well. I thought they would respond well,” Cass coach Greg Hight said of his squad. “They are playing well. I expect them to play this way.”

In the first game, senior pitcher Courtney Bailey struckout nine Gilmer batters while allowing two earned runs on four hits and three walks over seven innings.

Gilmer took an early lead in the first inning, but Bailey would allow just one the rest of the contest.

Meanwhile, the Cass offense produced its own run in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly by Kiayana Farmer.

The Lady Colonels scored another run in the second inning on an error. They added one insurance run in each of the second, third, fourth and sixth innings to secure the lead.

Hannah Kirkpatrick had an RBI-single in the third, bringing home Lynnsey Hollifield.

Gilmer would score one more run in the seventh inning when the game was already out of hand.

Hope Elrod scored two runs in the game, while Camey Kirkland and Farmer each had two hits.

The second game against Pickens County was closer and tied at 2 heading into the seventh inning. Both teams scored one run in the seventh inning to bring the game into extras. It was there that Cass stepped up and scored four runs to put the game away.

Lauren Womack led the team with three hits in the game. Elrod, Bailey and Kelsey Holloway each had two hits. Elrod led the team with two RBIs.

Cass will move on to play Ridgeland back at Heritage point with a 5 p.m. start time on today. If the Lady Colonels win the game, they will have qualified for the state tournament.

Adairsville eliminated

The Lady Tigers lost their final game of the season Monday at Hamilton Crossing in the Region 5-AAA tournament by a score of 13-1 in four innings.

Adairsville scored first and trailed by one run heading into the third inning. It was then that things started to unravel for the young squad.

“We played well for three innings,” Adairsville head coach Kandace Bruno said. “Then in the bottom of the fourth, we had a couple of errors. We gave them an inch and they took a foot.”

Bruno’s team was led, mainly, by freshmen and sophomores. Bruno is happy with the progress the girls made and is excited about the future.

“All I asked them to do was get better and they did that,” Bruno said. “We saw a lot of good things. We had some sophomores step up and become leaders.

“This was a learning year for us and the coaching staff, and hopefully, we can keep getting better.”