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By Corey Stott, Memphis Democrat
CANTON- 10/14/21- It was win or go home time when the North Shelby Lady Raiders (16-7) faced the Scotland County Lady Tigers (6-15) in a Class 1 District 9 championship semi-final game last Thursday evening. It was a re-match of a game that took place just a week prior, when the Lady Tigers snatched a road win from the Lady Raiders with a three-run walk off homerun from Hanna Anders.
The game was a pitcher’s duel for the first three and a half innings. Neither team was able to secure a base hit during that time frame. Anders got the start in the circle for Scotland County, while Natalie Thrasher got the start for North Shelby. Both pitchers were throwing strikes and their defenses were backing them up effectively.
However, in the bottom of the fourth inning, the floodgates burst open and the Lady Raiders went on an offensive tear. Three Lady Raider hits coupled with three Lady Tiger errors resulted in four runs crossing the plate.
Caroline Linberger led-off with a single to center and advanced to second on the throw. Two batters later, Thrasher ripped a hard line drive down the third base line, forcing a Scotland County defensive error, scoring Linberger. Whitney Snow then ripped a very similar liner down the same base line and forced yet another Lady Tiger error, scoring courtesy runner Emme Jones.
Ava Williams then followed up with a double to right field, scoring Snow. Ceairra Kirby tagged a hard grounder to center field that pushed Williams across the plate, and it was suddenly 4-0.
That would prove to be the only scoring in the game. Snow came on in relief to work the final three frames, and effectively shut down the Lady Tiger hitters with an eight strikeout performance.
Anders got the start and the loss for Scotland County. She worked six innings and faced 24 batters. She recorded three strikeouts with no walks, allowing three hits and four runs, all unearned.
Thrasher worked four innings facing 17 batters. She tallied four strikeouts and issued one walk, while allowing no hits or runs. Snow worked the final three innings and faced 11 batters. She struck out eight and walked one, while allowing only one hit and no runs.
As a team, Scotland County went 2/23 at the plate, with Anders picking up both hits in three at-bats. North Shelby as a team hit 3/24, with Linberger, Williams and Kirby getting a hit apiece.