Tuesday’s high school softball contest between Cedartown and Cartersville at Bartow County’s Atco Park began around 5:30 p.m.
Only a mere two hours and 50 minutes later, a victor was crowned.
The Cedartown Lady Bulldogs outlasted the Cartersville Lady Canes 7-5 in 11 innings on Tuesday evening for their first official game of the season.
It may not have been as quick or pretty as their scrimmage win over Woodland, but this was a hard-fought triumph for CHS that could have went either way.
Cartersville got things started in the first inning, scoring two unearned runs off Cedartown starter Reagan Clarke. After 1.5 scoreless innings, Cedartown was able to find their first offensive success.
With two runners aboard, junior Marycille Brumby launched a moonshot well over the outfield wall. The North Georgia commit’s homer gave the Lady Bulldogs their first lead of the game, holding a 3-2 advantage in the top of the third.
Unfortunately, a disastrous fifth inning put Cartersville back in the driver’s seat. The Lady Canes again benefitted from Cedartown errors, tallying three runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Their 5-3 lead would not last long. In the top of the sixth, the Lady Bulldogs were able to tie it up on a big hit by Alexas Poole. The senior leader barely missed clearing the fence with her two-run single, tying the game.
Though each team had scoring opportunities in the latter innings, it seemed as if neither could bring runners home. That all changed in the top of the 11th inning when Carlie Holland scored on a Cartersville error. Later in the inning, Taylor Westmoreland touched home plate following an RBI hit by Ava Allred.
Clarke, who battled adversity in the form of defensive errors throughout the game, came through when it mattered most. Although the ace was visibly exhausted in the bottom of the final inning, Clarke kept fighting and recorded the final three outs to earn an 11-inning complete-game victory.
Coach Eddie Gambrell was proud of his team but definitely viewed the performance as a chance to improve.
“We have to get better but we fought and I’m happy with that. We have a lot of things to correct tomorrow,” Gambrell said. “Reagan Clarke pitched the best game of her career.”
Clarke allowed five runs – none earned – on three hits. She tallied eight strikeouts and allowed six walks.
Poole went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Kaylee Nikolopoulus was 2-for-4 with two runs scored while Holland finished 2-for-6 with one run.
Brumby went 1-for-3 with a home run and three runs batted in while Westmoreland was 1-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored.
Cedartown returns to action Friday to host county rival Rockmart. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.