Madison County’s softball team won two of three matchups this past week, improving to 8-3 on the season.
But Red Raider coach Doug Kesler, whose team topped Eastside and Lanier last week before falling to Loganville 7-2 Monday, is not thrilled with his squad’s performance so far in 2012.
“We’re better than what we’ve shown,” said Kesler. “We’ve got to keep working and trying to get better. At this point of the season I thought we’d be a little farther along than we are now.”
Of course, a Monday night loss to Loganville was fresh on Kesler’s mind when he spoke of his team Tuesday morning. Madison County rallied to tie that matchup at two in the sixth inning, but gave the game away in the bottom of the inning as the squad committed three errors and surrendered five runs to the perennial power in Walton County.
The Loganville Red Devils are no longer in Region 8-AAAA, but Madison County kept its rivalry alive this week. Kesler said the tough early season competition will serve his team well late in the year.
“There’s not as much pressure (against Loganville), because they’re not in our region anymore,” said Kesler. “But they’ve been a big rival for years. We could have picked up a couple of easier non-region games to pad our record, but we feel that games like this will help us later in the year.”
Abby Morgan led Madison County, going 2-for-2. Jorden Williams and Dani Lukas were both 1-for-3 with an RBI, while Alexis Damron, Randee Bettis and Bri Carr each had a hit.
Bettis and Damron shared time on the mound, with Bettis pitching five innings and Damron coming in for one.
Madison County will now host Johnson of Gainesville Thursday and Lumpkin County Tuesday. Both games will start at 6:30 p.m.
Kesler said Lumpkin County is “pretty good.”
“They’re well coached and if we’re not ready, they’ll come in and beat us,” he said.
Madison County 6 Eastside 2
In other recent action, Madison County rallied from a 2-0 early deficit to down Eastside 6-2 on the road Aug. 21.
Bettis left the mound after two innings of work after being hit by a pitch at the plate. She surrendered two hits and two runs. Damron picked up the win in relief, going five innings, allowing no hits and one walk, while striking out three.
Madison County cut Eastside’s lead in half in the third inning on an RBI double by catcher Ivie Drake. Morgan ripped a two-out RBI double to drive home Dani Lukas in the fourth to knot the score at two.
The Red Raiders rallied for four runs in the sixth to blow the game open, scoring one on an error, one on a single by Haley Gordon and two on another double by Drake, who led the team, going 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs.
Other Madison County hitters included Morgan, 1-for-2 with an RBI double; Gordon, 1-for-4 with an RBI; and Williams and Allen, who were both 1-for-3.
Madison County 5 Lanier 4
Also last week, Bettis surrendered four first-inning runs, but rebounded with five no-hit innings as Madison County edged Lanier at home 5-4 Thursday.
After the four-run first, Bettis mowed down Longhorn batters until the seventh inning when Lanier finally punched a hit up the middle. The Red Raiders had to play catch-up the entire night and it wasn’t until the home half of the sixth that Madison County jumped ahead for good. With one out in the sixth, Haley Gordon lined a single up the middle to start the rally. Gordon ended up swiping second base and came home to tie the game at 4-4 on a throwing error by Lanier’s third baseman. Bri Carr laid down a bunt with hopes of moving Gordon to third. Carr got more than she bargained for as the Longhorn third baseman air mailed her throw to first allowing Gordon to touch home. Carr advanced to third on the error and later scored the go-ahead run on a bloop single by catcher Ivie Drake. Bettis then went to work again in the top of the seventh. After allowing the first Longhorn hit since the first inning, Bettis struck out the final batter to end the contest. The lone Lanier base runner in the seventh inning was erased after Drake delivered a perfect pickoff to first base for the second out.
Madison County, which tallied eight hits, ended up stranding a total of seven base runners, including a fifth inning where the offense left the bases loaded. Drake led Madison County with three hits and two RBIs followed by two hits from Bri Carr and two from Gordon, who had an RBI. Abby Morgan added a hit and an RBI.
Drake’s RBI single to left in the home half of the sixth sealed the deal and the Lady Raiders ended the night with the one run win.
Bettis finished the night pitching all seven innings allowing four runs on five hits while striking out four and walking one.