By Dennis Clayton and Lisa Voyles
VARDAMAN – Vardaman’s Lady Rams erupted for five runs in the top of the first inning and took an important game one win over Ingomar’s Lady Falcons by a 12-3 score. Vardaman batted around in the first and scored the five runs with one out.
Whittney Gee got the offense started with a single and was followed by Grace Edmundson’s single. Cleanup batter Briana Wright singled, scoring Gee. Cheyenne McKiney’s line drive off the Ingomar pitcher’s leg, scored pinch runner Joanna Landreth and Vardaman led 2-0. Laken Lucius laid down a bunt single and the play at the plate was too late, increasing the lead to 3-0. Vardaman would add run four on Sydney Huffman’s ground out RBI and Ashley Wooten drove in the fifth run on an RBI single.
Ingomar came through with two runs in the bottom of the first to close the score to 5-2. That would be as close as the Lady Falcons would get as Vardaman came back in the top of the second with two more runs. Leadoff batter Laci Jo Fugett singled, Gee followed with another single and a subsequent passed ball had runners at second and third. McKiney singled, driving in Fugett and Gee, but was thrown out at second trying to stretch her hit into a double.
Vardaman pitcher Grace Edmondson overcame some early walks in the first couple of innings to completely throttle the Ingomar hitters. Edmundson finished the game allowing three runs, three hits, five walks, and seven strikeouts.
The Lady Rams added runs in the fourth as Jessica Rodgers reach on an error and was driven in by Gee’s single. Wright later singled and drove in Gee with her second RBI of the day.
Vardaman added three runs in the top of the seventh to reach the final 12-3 margin of victory.
Coach Billy Dill said that Saturday hitting performance was “the best that we’ve hit all year long. We hit line shots and were aggressive.” Of the first inning outburst, Coach Dill said, “That was big, we came out and hit those line drives, and we were hitting line drives back up the middle which means that we were on it. That was a big hit by our number eight hitter, Ashley Wooten to go up 5-0. They know that if we will just hit the ball, we’ll be all right.”
Game two give Lady Rams sweep
The bats from Saturday night were not repeated in game two Monday, but the Lady Rams used defense, pitching and small ball to sweep the series, 3-2, and advance to round two of playoffs.
Neither team scored in the first and the Lady Rams held the Lady Falcons in the top of the second, but Sydney Huffman put the Vardaman girls on the board, 1-0, in the bottom of the frame with a homer over the centerfield fence.
The Lady Falcons got on base in the top of the third as Morgan Kelly hit a single and stole second, but Gee handled Lauren Koon’s fly ball and Edmondson got the grounder to McKiney to get out of the inning.
The Lady Falcons rallied in the top of the fifth with Kelly Mayo hitting a single past third base and advancing to third on a Vardaman error. Maggie Smithey singled and stole second and Morgan Kelly reached on a bunt, but Mayo was thrown out at home to stop the score.
Lauren Koon singled to load the bases and Heather Dillard tripled to the left field fence for two RBI and a 2-1 lead.
The Lady Rams made their last at-bat good as eighth-grader, Stacey Haimes, reached on a walk and courtesy runner, Shavonda McKinney, stole second. Jessica Rodgers turned a bunt single into a double on an Ingomar error and scored McKinney to tie the game.
Laci Jo Fugett reached on a bunt and sent Rodgers to third and Gee walked to load the bases. Briana Wright had stuggled at the plate earlier in the game, but didn’t show it as she ripped a line drive up third base line to score Rodgers and take the win to advance in playoffs.
“Pitching and defense kept us in it long enough,” Dill said. “We had one bad inning and our bats never did come around. Sydney (Huffman) got us an early lead and Stacy (Haimes) had a big at-bat. She walked but she got on and Shavonda McKinney came in to erun with a big steal. We had hit so well Saturday, I kept waiting for the hits to come. The bunts got us over.”