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By David Sharp
Knox County (0-1) took advantage of North Shelby defensive bobbles for a four run first inning in August 30, 2022 season opening varsity softball action at North Shelby. The Lady Raiders (1-0) roared back with a seven run fifth inning for an 8-5 win.
Caroline Linberger went 3-3 at the plate for North Shelby, driving in two runs. Linberger and Harper Copenhaver drilled two run Lady Raider doubles during the decisive fifth frame.
KCHS catcher Jen Hinkle led off the game reaching on an error. Agnes Reel followed with a hit. Bryston Miller plated a run with an RBI grounder. Bailey Bowen doubled in a run.
Knox County led 4-0 after an inning of play. North Shelby got a single from standout senior Chesnie Robbins. Caroline Linberger drew a walk. KCHS starter Agnes Reel struck out the side in the scoreless first inning.
“I think the girls showed up,” Knox County coach Lauren Dale said.
“They played really well. Honestly, they fell down one inning. I told the girls you won a game but lost an inning and lost the game. That is the sad reality of the sport.”
“They have a lot to be proud of. I thought Agnes (Reel) pitched a phenomenal game. We should have been out of that inning four runs before we were out of it,” Lauren Dale said. “We are going to make errors, so we just can’t let free runners on.”
“I think the team needs to be super excited about the way we played. Kennedy (Parrish) came in and shut it down,” Lauren Dale said. “She threw some good stuff. I am as proud of her as I am Agnes. They are going to compete. They are going to have good success if they can put it together.”
North Shelby cut into the deficit when Caroline Linberger tripled leading off the Raider fourth inning. Linberger scored on a two-out error for a 4-1 tally after four complete innings.
Jen Hinkle led off the top of the fifth with a triple. Agnes Reel plated Hinkle with an RBI fielder’s choice. Natalie Thrasher filled the bases with a one out fifth inning hit. Caroline Linberger drove in two runs with a double.
Ava Williams followed with an RBI hit. An errant throw allowed another run. Harper Copenhaver drove in two runs with another double. Kennedy Parrish came in to pitch for Knox County.
Agnes Reel pitched four and a third innings, striking out 11 with five walks on six hits. Riley Stoneburner greeted the KCHS reliever with a hit. Parrish stepped up and struck out two Lady Raiders to retire the side.
North Shelby scored seven runs on five hits unofficially during their fifth inning. The Lady Raiders led by an 8-5 margin. North Shelby put runners on first and second base in the bottom of the sixth but did not score.
Knox County scored five runs on 10 hits unofficially. Knox County stranded four base runners. Jen Hinkle was 3-4 at the plate with two runs scored. Agnes Reel was 2-4 at bat with a run scored and another batted in.
Bailey Bowen was 2-3 with a run scored and another Knox County RBI. Kennedy Parrish pitched an inning and 2/3 with four strikeouts, one walk on two hits of scoreless softball.
North Shelby scored eight runs on eight hits with seven left on base. Natalie Thrasher pitched the seven inning distance, striking out three with no walks on 10 hits. One of the five Knox County runs was earned.
“I’ll take it. You never want to get down in the early innings,” North Shelby coach Donny Williams said.
“Things just weren’t going our way in those first few innings. I felt maybe the girls were a little flat.”
“They never gave up. We fought through it until we got to our inning where we scored seven runs,” Williams said. “We want to get started sooner. We will take the win. We will take the result.”