Salem's Rylee Rogers struck out six with her blazing fastball and ignited a pair of Seminole rallies with her bat, Thursday, as Salem defeated rival Rockdale County 6-2, the Salem win over rival Rockdale County since 2005.
According to Salem Coach Stephanie Bassett, the Lady Seminoles and Lady Bulldogs play together quite a bit year-round on traveling teams, so the players don't have any trouble getting amped up for the games.
The Lady Seminoles struck first in the bottom of the first when Rogers belted a doubled to deep left and later scored on fielder's choice when Taylor Beauchamp grounded out. Kayla Yorkeman walked and then scored on Jessica Vason's double. Vason scored on a sacrifice fly by Joy Vason to put the Lady Seminoles up 3-0.
The Lady Bulldogs scratched out a run the hard way in the third inning when Taylor Johnson led off with a walk, stole second, reached third on a swinging bunt by India Davis, and scored on Candace Johnson's ground out.
The Lady Bulldogs inched a little closer in the fourth when Breanna Richardson launched a shot off the right field fence for a double and scored on Jensen Robert's single down the right field line to close the deficit to 3-2.
In the top of the fifth Rockdale County pitcher Morgan Pace slapped a hard grounder that took a bad hop over the second sacker's glove, but rightfielder Kendra Jenkins alertly pounced on the ball and threw out Pace at first.
After being held in check by Pace,who pitched nearly as well as Rogers, for three innings, the Lady Seminoles erupted for three more runs in the bottom of the fifth in another rally ignited by Rogers who singled and then took second on a pickoff throw to first. Yorkeman singled to put runners on second and third for Jessica Vason who in knocked her second run of the game with another double.
Yorkeman and Vason both later scored to put the Lady Seminoles up 6-2.
Staked to a four run cushion, Rogers allowed on only one hit in the final two frames to seal the 6-2 victory.
According to Coach Stephanie Bassett, Rogers pitched perhaps her best game of the season.
"She was pumped up for this game," Coach Bassett said. "She had good velocity on her fastball." And when Rogers is dealing like she was Thursday (only one walk), the entire Lady Seminoles team seems to feed off it, she said.
Coach Bassett was also pleased to see the Lady Seminoles get off to a good start against Rockdale.
"That's something we have struggled with all year," Coach Bassett said. "But we started strong and kept it up the whole game."
Rockdale's junior-varsity team nipped the Seminoles 6-3 in the matinee.