After Tuesday night’s game, it would be safe to assume the White County Warriorettes will be very happy when Gabi Keith graduates from Warren County.
Keith carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning against White County and Lauren Wilkinson hit her seventh home run of the season as the Lady Pioneers defeated their District 6-AAA rivals 6-1.
It’s not the first time Keith has had success against the Warriorettes. In last year’s district tournament, Keith gave up one hit in the Lady Pioneers’ 2-0 win to clinch their first regional trip under coach David Upton.
Keith was at the top of her game again Tuesday against White County. The only base runner Keith allowed through five innings was a second-inning walk and catcher Morgan Frye threw her out trying to steal moments later. Keith faced the minimum through five innings and finished with seven strikeouts.
While Keith was dominating the White County batters, the Lady Pioneers built a big cushion by getting the bats going in the second inning.
Sophomore Monica Lane began the inning with a single. Frye followed with a single of her own to give the Lady Pioneers two runners on with nobody out. Chelsea Cope moved both runners up with a sacrifice, then the wheels came off for the White County defense.
Lane scored off an errant throw by the shortstop on a ground ball off Lauren Crothers’ bat. Taylor Mullican, who came in as a courtesy runner for Frye, would score on a ground ball by Peytan Hall, who reached base when the White County first baseman couldn’t keep her foot on the bag.
Lauren Wilkinson scored Crothers with a sacrifice fly to wrap up a three-run inning for the Lady Pioneers.
The Lady Pioneers would build the lead to 4-0 in the following inning. Taylor Grissom, who is currently sporting a robust .439 batting average, singled to begin the third. Lane followed with a deep shot into the left-field gap.
Coach Upton decided to try to score Grissom from first, but a perfect throw from the center fielder nailed Grissom at home. Lane advanced up to third on the throw though and would come in to score when Frye hit a ball between the White County first basemen’s legs.
With Warren County rolling on offense and looking poised to pick up its second district win, the only tension left would be if Keith could complete the no-hitter.
The moment wasn’t to be though, as White County led off the sixth inning with a single into short-center field. It broke up a seven-inning streak for Keith of allowing no hits, as she had pitched two innings the night before in Grundy County and allowed no base runners.
Though the hit deflated the team, it was only for a moment. Wilkinson got the fans and team back on their feet in the bottom of the sixth.
Wilkinson came up with one runner on in the bottom of the sixth and had one thing in mind. After Wilkinson had struck out looking twice, the Lady Pioneers junior was taking big cuts. After fouling the first pitch off, Wilkinson teed off on the next pitch.
The ball didn’t land until it had easily cleared the center-field fence, giving Wilkinson her seventh home run and second four-bagger in two games.
White County would break-up the Lady Pioneers shutout in the seventh by plating a run, but it still didn’t put a damper on Warren County’s 12th win.
Coach Upton thought it was an important game for the Lady Pioneers, especially with the district race starting to tighten up.
“It was a big win for us. We played great as a team and it was the first time in a while I’ve seen us put the pedal to the metal and never let up,” said Upton. “Tuesday was about taking care of business in district.
“This week should be very telling on seeing if we can end up where we want to be by the end of the season.”
The Lady Pioneers improved to 12-9 and 2-2 in District 6-AAA. Both of Warren County’s losses came to Coffee County, which is one win away from clinching the regular season district championship for the second straight year.
Warren County was scheduled to travel to White County Wednesday, but the game was rained out. No make-up date has been set. The Lady Pioneers took on Cumberland County last night in a doubleheader at Warren County High School softball field. Game results were unavailable at press time.