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Janelle and Janette Hynes were a twin-killing for the Collins softball team Thursday night.
The sophomore twins played key roles in the host Titans’ 8-2 victory over crosstown-rival Shelby County in the 30th District Tournament semifinals.
Janelle Hynes, Collins’ catcher, went 3-for-4 with four RBIs while Janette Hynes, the Titans’ shortstop, scored a run and was flawless in the field, turning a game-ending double play, as Collins made the 30th District Tournament final for the second straight season, and third time in four years. Anderson County topped the Titans 11-1 Friday night in the district final, but Collins still advanced to the 8th Region Tournament, which began Monday at Gallatin County.
The Titans’ victory over the Rockets in the district semifinal, which began Wednesday night before being delayed by lightning and storms, was their ninth in their previous 10 games.
“It’s all coming together,” said Collins Coach Suzanne Cates, whose team began its season with four straight losses, then had a six-game losing streak during the middle of the year. “They hung in there when it was really, really, really tough. We kept telling them to ‘Drink the Kool-Aid, drink the Kool-Aid.’ Then, one day we woke up and it was just happening for us.”
Led by Hynes the Titans (then 18-18) tallied 11 hits in their second victory of the season over the Rockets (12-18).
“We really waited on the ball tonight,” Hynes, Collins’ No. 2 hitter, said. “We stayed back and tried to drive it.”
Hynes had plenty of help. Junior Sam Veal went 3-for-3 with two runs scored while her classmates Shelbi Poehlein and Danaria Lewis added two hits apiece.
That was more than enough offense for eighth-grader Paige Oldham. The southpaw gave up two earned runs on four hits while walking two and striking out three in six innings. Freshman Hannah Renfro tossed the seventh inning for the Titans, who ended Shelby County’s season for the second straight year.
“We didn't play our best ball, which was evident to anyone who has followed us throughout the season,” said Rockets Coach Kelly Cable, whose team had three errors. “We have developed into a very good ball team, but sometimes you just aren't able to bring your ‘A’ game. I am, however, very proud of the girls for their hard work. We will very soon be reaping the benefits from it.”
Shelby County had Collins on the ropes May 6 before Sydney Cloyd’s two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning gave the Titans a 6-5 victory.
But this time around Collins built an early lead and continued to build on it.
The Titans plated one run in the bottom of the first when Poehlein led off with a single to center field. She stole second, and then scored on an errant throw to first base by Shelby County shortstop Sydney Wright.
Oldham, who got out of a two-on, no-out situation in the top of the first, retired the Rockets in order in the top of the second before lightning was spotted. Heavy rains soon followed, delaying the game until Thursday.
It was initially scheduled to resume at 6 p.m., but was delayed by an hour and a half due to field conditions.
Once it restarted, the Titans picked up where they left off, tallying two runs in the second, then scored single runs in the fourth and fifth frames before adding three more in the sixth.
In the second, Veal reached on an error before Cassie Rannells singled to center. After Janette Hynes (a.k.a. “Twin Louie,” after Lou Gehrig) popped out, Poehlein walked to load the bases. Janelle Hynes (a.k.a. “Twin Yogi,” after Yogi Berra) followed with a two-run single through the left side of the Shelby County defense.
Oldham, who missed some games late in the regular season while on a family trip to Germany, held the Rockets hitless for the first three innings. In the fourth she issued a two-out walk to Tori McGuire before eighth-grader Brianna Waits doubled over Poehlein’s head in left to score McGuire.
Poehlein’s RBI-single in the bottom of the inning pushed Collins’ lead back to three runs before the Titans tallied another run in the fifth when senior Lindsey Ketcham walked with two outs, stole second, then scored on Veal’s single.
Shelby County seventh-grader Allyson Long led off the sixth with a home run to center field before fellow seventh-grader Elisabeth Ivers singled, advanced to second on McGuire’s sacrifice, then third on Waits’ two-out single to center. The Rockets’ rally ended, though, when Oldham struck out her counterpart, Savannah Smeaton.
In the bottom of the sixth, Janette Hynes reached on an error before Poehlein walked. Janelle Hynes followed with a two-run double. She scored shortly thereafter on Lewis’ single up the middle.
Renfro issued a walk to Wright to start the seventh before striking out Abby Wills. She then induced Kara Wiley to ground to Janette Hynes, who stepped on second, then threw to first to complete the double play.
COLLINS 8, SHELBY COUNTY 2
Shelby County 000 101 0 - 2 4 3
Collins 120 113 X - 8 11 1
Savannah Smeaton and Kara Wiley. Paige Oldham, Hannah Renfro (7) and Janelle Hynes. W – Oldham (8-10). L - Smeaton. SV – Renfro (2). 2B - Brianna Waits (SCHS), Hynes (CHS), Danaria Lewis (CHS). HR - Allyson Long (SCHS). Records - Shelby County 12-18, Collins 18-18.