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Nine-run fifth inning powers Lady Pioneers
Gooby Martin
Coach Gooby Martin meets with starting pitcher Maddie Cantrell and catacher MaKenna Mason during Tuesday's contest.

The Lady Pioneers aren’t just comfortable playing from behind. They seem to relish it.

Warren County scored 12 unanswered runs Tuesday, flipping a five-run deficit into a 13-6 blowout victory over White County in District 6AAA play.

Coach Gooby Martin has praised his Lady Pioneers ability to flip games, from the first night when Warren County scored six runs in the seventh inning to beat Shelbyville. Tuesday night was more of the same, as the Lady Pioneers found a groove after falling behind 6-1.
“These girls don’t panic. Falling behind is never the idea, but we have experience playing that way,” said Martin. “They feel if they keep working hard and grinding they will find a way to win.”

The Lady Pioneers did just that against the Warriorettes.

White County (11-4) jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning, with Sarah Parker’s two-run home run providing the exclamation point. Parker added an RBI double in the third, answering a Lady Pioneer run in the first when Hailey Wood scored on a passed ball.

Warren County started to stabilize in the fourth inning, with Rhealee Johnson’s pitching providing a boost. The freshman entered for Maddie Cantrell and immediately shut down White County, holding the visitors without a hit the final four innings while striking out 10.

With Johnson shutting down the Warriorettes, Warren County began chipping away at the lead.

Ashton Whiles continued her power surge to start the fourth inning. The junior fouled off back-to-back potential third strikes before launching a shot over the left-field fence for her fifth home run.

The solo shot made it 6-2, but the Lady Pioneers were just getting warmed up at the plate.

Emily Mikkola, who raised her average to .424 with a 3-for-5 night, started a huge rally in the fifth with a lead-off single. Senior Kyra Hillis followed with a one-out RBI double, sending one deep to center field.

Elia Atterson continued the surge, roping a triple into right field to make it 6-4.

After intentionally walking Whiles and hitting Johnson, MaKenna Mason stepped to the plate with the bases loaded.

Mason broke out of an 0-7 slump dating back to last week with a two-run single, knotting the score at 6-6.

Errors pushed the Lady Pioneers into the lead, with two throwing errors bringing across two runs for the home team. Mikkola made it back to the plate and immediately ripped a shot into right field, allowing two more runs to score.

By the time Hope Mullican brought Mikkola in with a single, Warren County led 11-6.

The nine-run outburst, the most runs the Lady Pioneers have scored in an inning this season, was a product of doing something coach Martin works on everyday.

“I think our hitters made adjustments their second and third at-bats. That’s something we preach daily. It makes this group really fun to watch because they’ll play to the final out,” said Martin.

Following a lead-off walk, Johnson struck out the side in the sixth, squashing an chance for White County to regain momentum.
Warren County tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the frame, getting a RBI single from Grace Rains and sac fly from Wood to grow its advantage.

Johnson made quick work of the Warriorette lineup in the seventh, ending the game by striking out Parker swinging.

The Lady Pioneers went on the road Thursday in hopes of earning another District 6AAA victory over Stone Memorial. The result was unavailable at press time. Check Sunday’s Southern Standard for more information.