The district crown was up for the taking on Tuesday night.
The Sweetwater Lady Cats took it, downing rival Meigs County to claim sole possession of first place in league play and an undefeated district record to this point.
“We knew it would be a different Meigs County team,” Sweetwater coach Sarah Davies said. “They beat us five or six times in a row last year, run ruled us most of the time, so we knew that they’ll still be able to hit. Ashley Rogers was amazing and she handled us quite well, but she didn’t put 20 runs on the board last year. We knew that they’d still be able to hit. But it felt great to finally end that streak.”
The Lady Tigers were never really a factor in the game, as Emily Barnes deftly brushed away scoring threats and let the Lady Cats bats answer the call, 12-1.
“Emily Barnes did an amazing job again tonight,” Davies said. “Holding them, because one run is not indicative of what Meigs County can do, so holding them to one run- I’m proud of her.”
Barnes got four of her strikeouts in the first two innings, shutting down Meigs County. In the bottom of the second, the Lady Cats capitalized. Abby Starnes and Kylie Hicks led off with singles and Barnes was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jordan Key scored Starnes with a sac fly before a 2-run double by Mari Robbins drove in two more runs and gave the home team a 3-0 lead.
Meigs County switched from starter Carlee McLemore to Toryn Lawson in the third, but the change didn’t deter the Lady Cats. Lawson walked five of the first six batters she faced, loading the bases and scoring two runs for Sweetwater. Lawson’s appearance was short, as McLemore returned, but again pitching struggles seemed to plague the Lady Tigers.
McLemore, upon reentering, gave up a 2-RBI double to Morrison Davies an a 3-run home run by Robbins that increased the lead to 10-0.
“I think that ball’s still going,” Davies said of Robbins’ home run. “She’s just getting stronger and stronger every game. She’s got the short game and she can put it out, so she’s very dangerous.”
An RBI double in the fourth by Arika Reed broke up Sweetwater’s shutout bid, but it would be the only time the Lady Tigers changed the scoreboard. After a few innings of back-and-forth battling, the Lady Cats finally broke through the run-rule score margin in the sixth, as Barnes drive home Abby Starnes and Hicks to secure the 12-1 win for Sweetwater.
“One hundred percent, we want to be in the driver’s seat,” Davies said. “We’ve got I think four games left in district and so this is exactly where we want to be.”