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LAWRENCEBURG -- The Rockets' lost to Anderson County, 6-5, in extra innings Tuesday night in the 30th District Championship may serve as a little motivation for the regional softball tournament.
“I thought we did fine,” shortstop Hannah Stucker said. “It’s just going to make us hungrier going into the regions. I feel sorry for the team’s we’ll play. Were pretty mad right now.”
Though the Rockets advance to the 8th Regional Tournament, which starts Monday at Carroll County High School, they didn't do in quite the way they had hoped.
After tying up the score, 3-3, in the sixth inning, Shelby went up, 5-3, in the first extra inning.
First, Stucker’s pop fly fell just short of diving center fielder Christina Harvey to score Becca Mouser. Then with bases loaded, relief pitcher Lauren Brown walked Dee Dee Davis to force in a run.
Brown had relieved starter Courtney Turpin, who injured herself diving after a line drive on the previous play. Turpin had one strikeout and no walks when she left the mound.
The Bearcats loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth with two singles and a walk. Harvey’s hard infield hit squeezed in runner Corrin Robinson. Then Anna Marie Hyatt found a gap through the left field to score the winning runs.
The Rockets were left feeling like they’d had one stolen. Every player had contributed in the comeback. The defense had made several saves with Bearcats runners in scoring position.
Pitcher Jeneca Thomas had key strikeouts in two separate innings to prove her resiliency. Bases were loaded in the second inning with two outs when Thomas struck out Brown. Then in the third with two runners on and two outs Thomas struck out MacKenzie Peavier.
Shelby had a bobble and a passed ball when Anderson went up, 3-,1 in the bottom of the fourth. But the defense was solid through the late innings and backed Thomas with key plays.
In the sixth, the Bearcats loaded the bases again with two outs, but left fielder Kristina Gramig snagged a foul fly ball heading for the fence to end Anderson’s threat.
Well-placed hits overwhelmed Shelby in the eighth as they tried to upset the district favorite.
“We fought hard,” Stucker said. “A couple hits didn’t go our way, a couple balls in the gaps. We don’t let down against anybody.”
The Rockets know they will play Monday against the winner of one of the other districts, but they won't know whom or at what time until the other tournaments are complete and the draw is done on Saturday.