Gardendale head softball coach Barry Brake was not happy with the five errors committed by his team on Tuesday night, but was encouraged by the fight they showed in a come-from-behind home win over the Corner Yellow Jackets.
Down four runs late, Gardendale climbed back with a six-run sixth inning to earn a 10-8 win in the 2020 home opener.
“We need practice, we need innings, we need games, we need to get three-quarters into the season so we can become a better team, because we’re still learning how to play at some positions,” said Brake following the win.
The decisive sixth was highlighted by Kailey Vaughn’s two-run, go-ahead triple down the line in right field. A diving effort fell short as the ball bounced into the right-field corner, allowing two runs to score to put the Rockets out front 9-8.
“I was just happy to see us compete at that particular time,” said Brake.
Vaughn later scored from third off a Preslie Ross single up the middle, setting the final tally at 10-8. Haley Horton started the inning with a moonshot to dead center that cut the deficit to 8-5.
“She put a nice swing on it and got just enough of it to carry it out,” said Brake of Horton’s solo shot.
Corner built its lead with a five-run fifth. Anna Hinkle and Shauna Kelley both drove home runs to put the Yellow Jackets out front 5-4. That’s when the Rockets got a little sloppy in the field.
Payton Cox grounded into a fielding error at third, which was followed by a throwing error as Corner runners rounded the basses. In total, three runs scored on the play, resulting in a four-run lead.
Hinkle finished the night with three hits and two RBIs for the Jackets. Jaden Goodwin and McKenzie Wagnon both found two hits and scored. As a team, Corner scored eight runs (four of them earned) on 10 hits and left six runners on base.
Gardendale leadoff Abbie Waters, a Wallace State signee, scored three runs and drove home three more on two hits. Ross came through with two hits and two RBIs. The senior lefty also pitched two scoreless innings of relief.
Horton went five innings in the start, allowing eight runs (four of them earned).
“We have got to get better defensively,” said Brake.