published Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Marion County defeats Sale Creek with extra bases

Marion County players cheer as Erica O'Kane, left, arrives at home plate after a home run during their District 6-A softball game Monday at Sale Creek. Marion's Lady Warriors won 10-6.
Marion County players cheer as Erica O'Kane, left, arrives at home plate after a home run during their District 6-A softball game Monday at Sale Creek. Marion's Lady Warriors won 10-6.
Photo by Doug Strickland.

The hits were nearly even between Marion County and Sale Creek in their District 6-A high school softball game Monday at Sale Creek. That's in total, not distance.

The Lady Warriors' eight extra-base hits far outweighed the hosts' one, and Marion County was able to rally from an early four-run deficit to beat Sale Creek 10-6.

After losing to Whitwell, Marion County (7-2, 2-1) was looking up in the district standings at the Lady Tigers, Sale Creek and South Pittsburg, all of which were without a league loss.

"We definitely didn't want to come in here and get another district loss," Marion coach Chris Thomas said. "That's what I kept telling them during the game. We had to fight back and make something happen."

Thanks to a five-run second inning, which included seven singles, Sale Creek (3-4, 1-1) led 5-1 going to the third.

Erica O'Kane homered in the top of the inning for the first of the Lady Warriors' three solo shots in the game. Hers came right after a lineout double play.

"We hit the ball hard sometimes and it gets us in trouble," Thomas said. "But as long as we're hitting the ball hard, I'm pretty pleased."

Thomas then brought O'Kane on in relief at the start of the bottom of the third. She gave up seven hits and two walks in her five innings of work but held the Lady Panthers to one run, and she ended the game with two of her three strikeouts.

"There were some little dink hits here and there, but I didn't think her ball was moving enough," Thomas said of starter Sheldon Ritchie. "I brought in somebody who was a little bit quicker, just to change the pace a little bit."

Sale Creek still owned the lead after five innings, but a five-run sixth gave Marion County the lead for good. The rally didn't start until two were out and began with Tori Hansard's home run.

"They hit the ball, but we did, too," Sale Creek coach Clifford Kirk said. "They hit the ball harder than we did. Our pitching just didn't come through. We've had pitching problems all year long. Our outfield is not the greatest, either, but you're not going to catch those over the fence."

O'Kane and Kelsey Barnett each was 3-for-4 for the Lady Warriors with Barnett contributing two RBIs. Hansard was 3-for-5 and also had a double and scored three runs.

Harlie Jordan was 2-for-4 with two doubles in the victory, and she had an RBI and two runs scored. Shayla Vandergriff had the other home run.

Morgan went 4-for-4 for the Lady Warriors and had their extra-base hit and two RBIs. Sydney Poe was 2-for-2 and scored a run. Kirby Webb and Taylor Day each went 2-for-4 with Webb driving in a run and Day scoring twice.

"We've been inconsistent," Kirk said. "Our pitching is there; then it's not. We usually end up with five or six errors a game. That's where the difference has been."

Contact Kelley Smiddie at ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.

about Kelley Smiddie...

Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com.

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