Alcovy sent two pitchers to the circle in Kalia Johnson and Tanisha “Skeeter” Williams, and both stifled the bats of Rockdale, as the two combined to give up just one hit in a 8-0 victory over the Lady Bulldogs.
Briana Smith pitched for Rockdale, but she couldn’t do much to stop the bats of Alcovy. The Lady Bulldogs’ defense played well limiting their errors, but Alcovy’s bats were too much as they put up eight runs in just six innings.
Johnson pitched for only two inning, facing six batters and striking out all six before giving way to Williams. Williams walked her first batter, Precious Anpaul, who stole second base during the next at-bat, to begin the third inning.
Williams threw a couple more balls before Johnson and Williams had a quick chat in the circle that quickly resulted in three straight K’s for Williams, ending any chance of offense for Rockdale in the bottom of the third inning.
“The plan coming in was to give Kayla some innings just so she can stay pitching, but we want Skeeter to get some innings because she is gonna be who we have to look for next year,” Brandy Keeter, Alcovy head coach, said.
“They definitely both have a different pitching style, Kayla has a little bit more speed, but when Skeeter comes in she definitely has the movement that we need to throw ‘em off balance,” Keeter added.
Alcovy’s offense was hot from the beginning. After Lanie Knight popped out to begin the inning, Madisson Woodruff singled down the third baseline and Raven Smith followed with a hit back to the pitcher that should’ve been an easy out but an error gave Smith a free base.
Johnson sent a shot between first and second for a single that scored Woodruff. Williams would hit a sac fly to score Smith as Alcovy ended the inning up 2-0.
After Johnson retired the side, Ricki McKnight began the inning with a blooper single before stealing second. The next two batters were retired and then Smith blasted a shot to deep center field to score McKnight. Johnson followed with a hit to the hole in right center with a double RBI, scoring Smith.
The Lady Tigers added another run in the fourth inning, off of an error and were up 5-0 entering the sixth inning.
Alcovy did well in the sixth, as they pounded the ball, managing to score three runs enough to in the inning and at one point adding back-to-back-to-back doubles by Alcovy’s top hitters, Smith, Johnson and Williams respectively with the latter two scoring one run.
“We definitely worked on hitting after our games last week just so they could see some live hitting besides just the little front toss,” Keeter said.
“I think for some of the girls it takes them a few at-bats to get adjusted to the pitching or to figure out what the umpire’s strike zone is gonna be so they know, “OK. I can lay off this pitch or I need to swing at these close pitches,’” Keeter said.
For Rockdale, this game serves as a building block for a young team that showed a lot of promise, especially on defense. The Lady Bulldogs will have to improve on offense to compete in the region, and first-year head coach Natasha Johnson knows it.
“Our whole team is pretty much new. Our coaching staff is new. We did...pretty much decent,” Johnson said. ‘I didn’t expect us to come out here and hit home runs or anything but we did what we came to do. Defense was pretty much on, we kind of dropped up a few up there at the plate and struggled a little bit, but we’ll get better.”
“We always tell the girls, ‘Don’t give up. If it’s moving fast then you got to swing a little faster.’ They didn’t seem to be doing that today, but we talked about it,” Johnson added. “We’re gonna go out and do a little more hitting, speed the pitching machine up a little more so that we’re ready for the next game against Alcovy.”