To be the best team in the CTC, the Lady Pioneers know they'll have to be better than Coffee County. On Friday night at home, Warren County showed it was ready to make a run at the title.
Warren County run-ruled Coffee County 8-0, evening the season series between the powerhouse programs. Coffee County won 4-2 Thursday, but couldn't keep its momentum once the Lady Pioneers got rolling at home.
Nevaeh Duggin earned a shutout win with five solid innings in the circle, while Reese Reinitz, Kaydence Wiser, Ruby Denning and Ali Young jump-started the offense as Warren County improved to 3-2 this year. The quartet of Lady Pioneers all finished with four hits in the victory, including Reinitz and Denning getting hot early.
"We shook the lineup up and they responded well and hit the ball," said WCMS coach Joe Damon following the victory Friday. "I thought we pitched well enough and played defense well enough to win Thursday, but we couldn't hit. We did it all tonight."
Denning started the scoring in the first, rifling an RBI single through the middle to score Aubrey Oleksik after the speedster's aggressive baserunning put her in scoring position. Reinitz made it 2-0 with a floater into center, just far enough away from three Lady Raiders to allow Denning to score from second.
Duggin made it stand up the rest of the way, silencing Coffee County every time it seemed like the Lady Raiders would make a charge. She forced a routine grounder with two on and two outs in the second to escape trouble, then pitched around two singles in the third by striking out one and forcing a pop up to center to retire the side. Duggin finished the night with three strikeouts.
Warren County didn't add to its lead again until the fifth, but once the runs started crossing, they wouldn't stop until the game was over.
Young sparked a rally in the fifth with a lead-off single, then Cortlyn Porter singled to right to put runners on the corners.
Duggin used a sac bunt to score Young and was able to reach on an error, keeping the rally rolling. Kaidence Crouch and Wiser followed with back-to-back singles, with Wiser's rip into center scoring Porter.
Coffee County had a chance to limit the damage and get the game to the sixth inning trailing just 4-0, but a two-out error broke the visitors. A dropped fly ball allowed two Lady Pioneers to score, then Reinitz smacked her second RBI single to push Warren County ahead 7-0.
Young drove the final nail into Coffee County, connecting with an 0-2 pitch and sending it into right field to allow Ross to score. It enacted the mercy rule and gave Warren County its first CTC win this season.
Coach Damon knows there will be many more wins needed between now and May before his Lady Pioneers can start thinking about any championships, but their play Friday gives the whole program confidence about competing against anybody this spring.
"I think we're still getting better. We are not where we want to be, but we look forward to playing these kind of games and teams again later when it really matters," said Damon.
Warren County spent Saturday in Gallatin and will return back to the diamond this Thursday on the road against Franklin County. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.