CEDAR BLUFF – Cedar Bluff softball coach Garrett Crane says this season’s Lady Tigers are a competitive bunch. They proved to be just that at home on Thursday.
After falling behind by four runs early, the Lady Tigers fought their way back, but couldn’t quite get over the hump in an 8-6 loss to Fyffe.
“They’re great about wanting to match,” Crane said of his team. “If somebody does something, they’re willing to match it or one-up it. That’s kind of that competitive side they have. They’re very coachable.”
The Lady Red Devils (1-0) scored four runs in the top of the first to put the pressure on the Lady Tigers (1-1) early, but Cedar Bluff cut its deficit in half in the bottom half of the inning with a pair of run-scoring singles by Mary Sausville and Mattie Payne.
It remained a 4-2 game until the top of the sixth when Fyffe’s Nevaeh Smith delivered a two-run single to increase the Lady Devil lead to 6-2. After Cedar Bluff went scoreless in the bottom half of the sixth, Fyffe added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh on a two-run double by pitcher Chloe Hatch.
Those insurance runs proved vital, as Cedar Bluff rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh. Nine-hole hitter Dixie Jones delivered a double to right center to lead things off. She later scored with one out on an error at third. Payne smacked hit to right field to score another run with two outs, then Reece Patterson drove in two more runs on a single to right center, bringing the tying run to the plate in Haley Allen.
Allen sent a grounder to Hatch who relayed to first for the final out of the game.
“Credit to Fyffe. They came out early and hung a four-spot on us in the first inning, and their pitching was good all night,” Crane said. “Our girls didn’t play consistently all night. We didn’t barrel it up all the time. At the end, they could have very easily folded, but I’m proud of the way they faced that adversity. They love to compete. In anything we do, they’re big competitors. They’re a fun group.”
The Lady Tigers had another opportunity at the plate in the bottom of the fifth. Pitcher Jordyn Walker led off with a double to right field. She tried to extend it to a triple, but the relay throw to third was in time, and Walker was called out.
Crane shouldered the responsibility for sending Walker.
“If I could do it again, I’d send her again,” Crane said. “It was a bang-bang play, a great relay. They made some of the big plays tonight and we fumbled the ball. We had a couple of errors and they capitalized. That was the difference tonight.”
Harlie Nelson followed with a double to center, but Hatch settled down to retire Haney and Sausville on a pop up and a strikeout respectively.
Walker suffered the loss in the circle. She finished with nine strikeouts. Hatch earned the win after fanning four. She also led Fyffe at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a walk, two runs and three RBIs.