Gadsden City beats Etowah for first win of season
Fri. March 22, 2013 at 10:01 p.m. | By J.J. Hicks Staff Writer
Gadsden City’s Cassidy Underwood delivers a pitch against Etowah during Fridays game. (Photo by Nick Johnston | Gadsden Times)
A broad smile spread across the face of Gadsden City softball coach Kevin Young on Friday afternoon as he listened to the sounds of his team celebrating its first victory of the season.
“It was a great win,” he said.
The Class 6A Titans rode their bats and the arm of Cassidy Underwood to a 7-4 victory over Class 5A Etowah.
The win was a long time coming, Young said.
“There’s been a lot of pressure on the girls to get that first win,” he said. “It’s something we’ve been thinking about. We’ve been close. Tonight, we played a complete ballgame; offense, defense, the girls cheering in the dugout. It’s very sweet.”
The winning pitcher, Underwood, echoed the sentiments of her coach. Her smile was similar considering she’d just emerged victorious for that first win of the year in circle.
“It was great,” she said. “Everything about the game was good.”
Gadsden City (1-10) had nine hits, including a pair of extra-base knocks. The Titans did all their damage in two innings, scoring four runs in the third and three in the fifth. They never trailed in the contest.
Underwood tossed a complete game, struck out seven and walked none while scattering seven hits to get the victory.
“I felt great (before the game),” she said. “I knew everybody was going to play their best. I knew God was with us. I felt great about today.”
Each team had base runners in the first and second innings but could not bring them across. In the top of the third, Amber Jones singled to center for the Blue Devils (7-7) and then stole second with no outs. After Underwood fanned the next two hitters, Jones stole third, but injured her left hand on the play. Etowah’s catcher and leadoff hitter was forced to leave the game after that. Underwood then forced a fly out to end the frame unscathed.
The bottom of the inning saw the Titans’ bats give them the advantage. Lindsey Tomlinson reached on an error. She stole second and was brought home on Ella Day’s triple for a 1-0 lead. Emma Grace Jones singled Day home before Sydney Boatner singled and a fielder’s choice put runners on second and third. McKea Collins plated Jones on a ground out, then Taylor Willingham gave the Titans a 4-0 lead with a single.
“We’d been struggling the last few games (hitting),” Young said. “We just took the approach (today) of ‘relax and hit the ball. Don’t be thinking too much, just get comfortable, see the ball and hit the ball.’”
Etowah’s Paden Allen went three innings, allowing five hits. She was relieved by Madison Grant, who went the final four innings. She gave up four hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
Etowah got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth. Madison Bishop doubled to center and scored on an error. After a pop out, Cailee Chaffin and Aimee Fancher hit singles to bring home the second Blue Devil run.
In the top of the fifth, the Blue Devils tied it. Nicki Rodgers started things off with an infield single. After a fly out, Rodgers stole second and then Underwood recorded the second out on a strikeout. Bishop reached on an error to put runners on first and third. Brooke Perry brought in Rodgers on a single to make it 4-3 before an error plated the tying run.
The momentum quickly swung to the Titans in the bottom of the inning. The first three runners reached for Gadsden City to load the bases. Willingham singled in a run to put the Titans ahead for good. Back-to-back wild pitches scored two consecutive runs for final the margin.
Underwood did not allow a hit over the last two innings to secure the win. She also had one hit in the game.
Collins and Willingham led the Titans with two hits apiece.
Perry and Rodgers each had two hits for the Blue Devils.