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When the Collins and Shelby County softball teams meet Monday in the 30th District Tournament semifinals, both coaches want something different from their teams.
First-year Titans Coach Suzanne Cates doesn’t want her team to be overconfident, and long-time Rockets Coach Kelly Cable just wants her team to be confident.
Second-seeded Collins (17-17, 2-1) takes on third-seeded Shelby County (11-20, 1-2) at 7:30 p.m. in the second district semi at Anderson County. The winner will play the victor from between No. 1 seed Anderson County (20-9, 3-0) and No. 4 seed Spencer County (2-27, 0-3) at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the district final in Lawrenceburg.
Collins got the better of Shelby County in the first meeting between the crosstown rivals this season. The Titans routed the Rockets, 14-1, on April 29 at the Shelby County Athletic Complex. Cates, however, would rather her team remember the fact that it led only 3-0 after four innings before breaking the game open with a 5-run fifth and a 6-run seventh.
“We can't overlook Shelby County,” she said. “They will sneak up on us if we do not execute and play basic softball. We have to hit well, not allow walks and errors and be smart on the bases.”
Including that victory over Shelby County, the Titans have won six of their past nine games and have averaged 12 runs per game in those victories. Collins, which has scored 226 runs but allowed an 8th Region-high 263 runs this season, is led by seniors Lauren Shepherd and Bailey Rankin. Shepherd has a .413 batting average and is 10-8 on the mound. Meanwhile Rankin, who has signed with Southern (La.) University, is batting .347 and leads the team in runs scored (33), RBIs (33) and stolen bases (11).
Meanwhile the Rockets (11-20), despite a roster replete with youth, are enjoying their best regular season since 2010, when they advanced to the State Tournament.
Shelby County is led by seniors Ari Jones, a center fielder, and Keaton Jesse, a first baseman, as well as freshman shortstop-pitcher Sydney Wright.
“We need to approach the game with confidence,” Cable said. “We need to step in the box with confidence, pitch with confidence, play defense with confidence. We have the ability, we just need the confidence.”
The winner of the rematch between the Titans and the Rockets is guaranteed a spot in the 8th Region Tournament, which also will be played at Anderson County.
30th District Tournament
At Anderson County
Anderson County (20-9) vs. Spencer County (2-27), 6 p.m.; Collins (17-17) vs. Shelby County (11-20), 7:30 p.m.
Final, 6 p.m.
C Janelle Hynes (.368, 24 RBIs); LF Bailey Rankin (.347, 5 triples, 3 HRs, 33 runs, 33 RBIs, 11 SBs); P Lauren Shepherd (.413, 23 RBIs); RF Shelbi Poehlein (.349, 24 runs); 1B Sydney Cloyd (.362, 12 doubles, 6 HRs, 26 RBIs); 3B Danaria Lewis (.315, 3 HRs, 28 RBIs); 2B Alex Baker (.236); SS Janette Hynes (.253); CF Lindsey Ketcham (.333, 8 triples, 24 runs).
Shepherd (10-8, 4.11 ERA, 75 K’s in 121 innings); Paige Oldham (4-7, 6.76 ERA, 14 K’s in 39.1 innings); Kylie Truelock (2-2, 8.46 ERA, 4 K’s in 24 innings); Hannah Renfro (1-0, 8.84 ERA, 9 K’s in 12.2 innings).
SS-P Sydney Wright; 2B-OF Tori McGuire; C Brianna Waits; CF Ari Jones; LF Abby Wills; 2B-SS Hannah Webb; 2B-P Savannah Smeaton; 3B Jessie Vermillion; 1B Keaton Jesse; RF-C-DH Elizabeth Ivers.
Wright (7-9); Smeaton (4-11).