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ADEL — Tift County’s Lady Devils had warm bats from the start, but it took until the later inning for them to totally catch fire in Tuesday’s scrimmage at Cook. They had a grand total of 14 hits in the 8-6 game, momentum they’ll hopefully carry over for Thursday afternoon’s home opener against Cairo.

Game time is 5:30 p.m. for Cairo. On Friday, they will play their second regular season contest, against Forsyth Central. That contest begins at 5 p.m.

Cook scored two in the first frame and two more in the 4th for a 4-0 advantage. Tift got one back in the top of the 5th, loading the bases with one out before Macy Hand reached on a ball that did not make it out of the infield, but nevertheless scored a run.

Head coach Taylor Barber said he had a good feeling about the 5th, even as the first batter flew out. It was hit well and he believed they were finally getting to the pitcher.

“Loralee (Bennett) smoked one right at the third baseman,” he said. “It was hammered.” Bailee Williams and Gracee Wood followed with singles, setting up Hand.

Barber admitted there were probably some nervousness from his team early on, especially considering the scrimmage was their first chance this summer to be fully involved in a competitive contest.

The Lady Hornets escaped without further damage that time, but not afterwards.

“The 6th was when we busted it open,” he said.

Lily Robinson had extended the Lady Hornets with a 10-pitch at-bat in the 4th. While she flew out then, in the 6th her six-pitch at-bat turned to gold with a single. “The changing point of the game,” said Barber. That set up a movie-type moment, one involving a coach and his daughter.

Riley Williams is an eighth grader and the daughter of softball assistant and head baseball coach Greg Williams. Riley Williams will be playing junior varsity this year, but eligible to play in the scrimmage.

With Robinson on first, young Williams stepped to the plate. “She gets a 2-1 count and smokes one right up the middle for her first varsity hit,” Barber said. Not only was it a moment for Dad, her teammates cheered wildly as well.

Ella Bruce sacrificed the pair into scoring position, almost beating out the bunt. Bennett hit a sac fly to center to bring home Robinson. Two were out when Bailee Williams walked, then Wood walloped a double to drive in both runners at tie the game at 4-4.

Hand made it back-to-back doubles. Wood touched home the Lady Devils were ahead, 5-4. They didn’t let go.

Robinson singled in the 7th and Riley Williams delivered her second hit and first RBI: Morgan Brey entered as pinch runner for Robinson and stole second before Williams came through again. Bruce reached on a hit and runners were again at second and third.

Bennett drove in another tally on a sac fly before Bruce increased the score to 8-4 on a wild pitch.

Cook came back with a pair in the bottom of the 7th before Emily Rowe closed the door on the Lady Hornets.

Robinson had the start in the circle. Rowe and C.B. McCrary pitched as well.

“I thought we did fine,” he said.

Tift had 10 hits in the final three innings. “It was comforting,” said Barber. “We faced two really good arms.” Wood had three hits, with Bennett, Breanna Hernandez, Robinson and Riley Williams each with two. Bennett, Wood and Hand had two RBIs each.

Barber is seeing their “1-0” motto going into effect. The Lady Devils are taking each game pitch-by-pitch, with the goal to not be affected by what happened earlier.

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