Reinhard delivers key hit in Rosewood victory
Published in Sports on March 3, 2006 2:36 PM
DUDLEY -- Southern Wayne freshman pitcher Lauren Darden had been thinking about making her first home start for the Saints all day.
She sat in her last classes on Thursday visualizing her first few pitches, wondering whether the home crowd would be inspiring or intimidating.
After she struck out the first two Rosewood batters, it seemed as if she was locked in, and her home debut would be one for the mental scrapbook.
But just as her third strike zipped past Rosewood's Christina Brunton for the second out, Aubrey Reinhard was looming in the on-deck circle. It would be her first test.
Teammates on the Wayne County Blue Breeze over the summer, the junior knew what to look for from Darden.
"I think it was on the outside corner," Reinhard said. "I know what she throws, so I wasn't really expecting the perfect pitch down the middle, I was just looking for a good pitch."
Reinhard got a pitch she could handle and ripped a slicing line drive into right field past Meredith Davis and checked in at third base with a triple.
The next batter, Courtney Hill -- another Blue Breeze teammate -- brought Reinhard home with a single to left.
Darden regrouped to strike out the next batter, Kasey Grey, but the damage was done.
Reinhard, Rosewood's pitcher, made the single run hold up, shutting out the Saints while scattering 11 hits on the afternoon.
The Eagles scored a run in the top of the sixth for the final 2-0 margin.
Darden, who rated her performance as a five on a 1-to-10 scale, notched 11 strikeouts and allowed only four hits, two of which came in the first inning. She recorded eight straight outs in the middle of the game, and struck out the side twice, but her offense couldn't figure out Reinhard.
"Lauren pitched a heckuva game," said Southern Wayne coach Brad Matthews. "She didn't deserve to lose that game. We just didn't make adjustments at the plate. I really think that was the key."
Despite getting a hit in every inning, the Saints only had two good scoring opportunities.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Morgan Davis reached on an infield hit and advanced to second on Meredith Davis' line drive into centerfield. The next batter, Lynn Grantham, hit a grounder toward shortstop Courtney Hill, who charged the ball and ran directly into Morgan Davis, who was trying to advance to third. As Hill fell to the ground, the ball rolled into left field, and Davis came around to score what looked to be the tying run.
After a short discussion, the umpires ruled that Davis had interfered with Hill, and called the runner out, taking the run off the board. With runners on first and second, Darden then grounded out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth -- after the Eagles had scored a run without the benefit of a hit in the top of the inning -- the Saints rallied once more.
With runners on first and second and two outs, Grantham hit a line single into center. Desperate for a run, third base coach Michael Wiggs sent Morgan Davis around from third. Rosewood put together a good relay, and catcher Chandra Meadows blocked the plate and applied the tag for the final out of the inning.
Matthews said his team's defense could have been stronger throughout the game and its inexperience showed more than once.
"We've got a lot of young girls on our team (just five upperclassmen), and we're gonna make mistakes," he said. "The main thing is that we've got to learn from the mistakes we've made."
The win evened Rosewood's record at 1-1 (dropping Southern Wayne to 1-1) and allowed the Eagles to make their first knot in coach Debbie Bailey's purple and white rope.
"We hope we can get knots to the end of the rope," said Reinhard, who did the honors as the winning pitcher.
Bailey came up with the idea on a whim.
"I just think it's our lifeline this year," the long-time assistant, but first-year head coach said. "I was in Lowe's the other day, and I just thought, mm-hmm, we need a motivation string."
The Eagles thought they were going to add their first knot on Wednesday, but lost 4-3 due to a late-inning Hobbton comeback.
Rosewood 100 001 0 -- 2 4 0
So. Wayne 000 000 0 -- 0 10 2
Leading hitters -- Rosewood -- Aubrey Reinhard 1-3, triple, run; Courtney Hill 2-3, RBI, 2 singles; April Pfieffer 1 run. Southern Wayne -- Morgan Davis 2-3; Meredith Davis 2-3; Jordan Hill 2-3, double
IP H R ER BB SO
Reinhard (W, 1-0) 7 10 0 0 0 1
Darden (L, 1-1) 7 4 2 1 4 11
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