Fans in attendance are usually in for a treat whenever Cedartown and Rockmart square off, regardless of the sport. The same logic applied for Saturday’s softball game at Cedartown High School.
In an emotional game that came down to the wire, the Rockmart Lady Jackets outlasted the Lady Bulldogs 5-4 as the Lady Jackets rushed out to an early lead and held on late for the victory.
Coach Steve Luke’s squad took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Alexis Teems scored on an RBI double by Gracey Arnold. Arnold scored later in the inning on a Sam Wolfe hit. Cedartown tied the game up in the home half of the first inning, as a two-out Taylor Westmoreland double brought home Alexas Poole and Marycille Brumby.
Rockmart reclaimed the lead in the top of the second inning as Teems reached on an infield single, easily scoring Maddie Owens from third base and giving the Lady Jackets a 3-2 advantage. Though each team had scoring chances in the third inning, neither could change the score.
Instead, the next runs came across in the top of the fourth. With two out and Kyleigh Bowman on second base, Gracey Arnold crushed a home run that flew over the head of Cedartown left fielder Roslyn Blankenship. The two-run blast extended Rockmart’s lead to 5-2 and ultimately marked the final time the Lady Jackets would score in the game.
The Lady Bulldogs inched closer over the rest of the game. Hannah Cochran scored from first base in the bottom of the fourth inning thanks to an RBI double by Blankenship that nailed the left field wall.
Cedartown’s next scoring opportunity came in the last inning as Blankenship scored from third base on a sacrifice fly by Poole, cutting the Rockmart lead to 5-4. The Lady Bulldogs worked the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, but a Kaylee Nikolopoulus pop-out ended the scoring threat and the ballgame.
Emilee Register pitched a great game for the Lady Jackets as the ace allowed four earned runs in seven innings of work while striking out two and allowing six hits and four walks. Reagan Clarke threw seven innings of quality ball for the Lady Bulldogs as well, giving up five earned runs in seven innings while allowing 12 hits and striking out three. Clarke did not issue a walk in the one-run defeat.
Teems had the most hits of any player in the game, as the center fielder was 3-for-4 with one run batted in and one run scored. Arnold finished 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs while Sarah Beth Frasier was 2-for-4. Bowman went 2-for-2 with one run against the Lady Bulldogs and Owens was 1-for-3 with one run scored.
As for Cedartown’s offense, Blankenship was 2-for-4 on the day with one RBI and one run. Westmoreland drove in two runs in a 1-for-1 day while Poole was 1-for-2 with one run and one RBI.
After their close non-region win over the rival Lady Bulldogs, Rockmart (9-5) was scheduled to play against Region 6-3A foe Ringgold in their next game on Monday, Sept. 14. Cedartown (9-8) returned to action on Tuesday against Region 7-4A opponent Ridgeland at home.