By Chris McCarthy/Editor
In a doubleheader against Marion Military Institute on Tuesday (Mar. 24), Gadsden State used solid pitching in the opener and timely offense in the nightcap to post a 1-0, 7-6 sweep in Alabama Community College Conference action at GSCC.
The pair of wins moved the Lady Cardinals to 4-2 in conference play and 10-20 overall.
In a complete-game effort, Game 1 starter Karlee Brown allowed two hits and one walk while striking out five. She sent down the side in order in the third, sixth and seventh innings and retired nine of the last 10 Marion batters. The one time she faced real trouble was in the top of the fourth, when a hit-by-pitch, bunt and sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with two outs.
But the freshman from Rogersville fanned the next batter to end the threat. The only other hit Brown allowed was a two-out double by Ashley Holt in the second.
“Karlee ended up throwing about 86 pitches, so she was like clockwork out there,” said GSCC head coach Shane Sanderson. “That’s what we needed from her today. She was ahead of the count most of the time and finished up strong.”
The Lady Cardinals threatened in the bottom of the fourth when Glencoe High grad Chandler Harden doubled and Sardis High grad Bethany Chamblee singled, but the two baserunners were stranded when Lady Tiger starter Lindsey Savoie got out of the inning with consecutive flyouts.
Chamblee, however, didn’t waste her next opportunity at the plate.
Madison Shanks led off the bottom of the sixth with a base hit and moved to second on Morgan Cobb’s sacrifice bunt.
Following a flyout by Harden, Chamblee stroked a 2-1 offering to the left-centerfield gap, plating Shanks with the go-ahead run. The Lady Cardinals almost took a 2-0 lead a pitch earlier when Chamblee’s towering shot to leftfield turned foul just before the fence.
Brown did the rest with a 1-2-3 top of the seventh.
“We played a crisp defensive game and threw strikes, which is what you want to do in a close game,” said Sanderson “We saw a lot slower pitching today that we’re used to, and we were hitting a lot of pop-ups. But we were bound to break through eventually, and we did. We’re so used to playing in really tight games that we’re not even nervous anymore. It seems that most every game has gone down to the wire, and we’ve been on the short end of a lot of them, so this was a good win.”
Chamblee went 2-for-2, while Shanks went 2-for-3.
In Game 2, the hosts erased an early 2-0 deficit with a four runs in the fourth, highlighted by Cobb’s two-run home run, and one in the fifth. Marion tied the game at 5-5 before Gadsden State pushed across a run in the sixth. The Lady Tigers drew within 7-6 in the seventh before Chamblee closed door on the mound.
After his team played error-free in the opener, Sanderson was not pleased with the five miscues in the second game.
“They never got the ball past the pitcher in the first inning and we gave up two runs,” he said. “It was night and day form the first game.”
In an unusual statistic, Chamblee was the starting pitcher while also earning the save after Brown relieved her for 1.1 innings in the sixth and seventh. Brown was credited with the victory. Chamblee allowed five hits, one earned run and no walks.
At the plate, Cobb went 3-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored, while Hanna Grace Sherrill went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Brown went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Koree Croley had a hit, an RBI and a run scored.
Shanks, Harden and Chamblee each had a hit and a run scored.
“Being 4-2 in the conference is good, but I told the girls that we can’t let up,” said Sanderson. “Every win is a big win from now on.”