The Meridian Star
Pitcher Lauren Yeager and the Southeast Lauderdale softball team shut down rival Northeast Lauderdale Friday night, beating the Trojans 9-1 at home.
The Tiger's freshman, Yeager led Southeast in the circle, pitching a complete game while striking out four batters to earn the win. At the plate, she was even better. Yeager went 4-4 on the night with two RBIs, including a two-run single to bust the game open at 5-1 in the bottom of the fourth.
“She has been pitching very well for us,” Southeast Lauderdale assistant coach Ashlee Bailey said. “She pitched really well Tuesday night against Choctaw Central, and she came back tonight throwing just as well. She's a natural hitter at the plate, she's got that natural swing. We always believe we can count on her.”
The Tigers would get on the board first in the bottom of the second, as Southeast third baseman Bri Roulier led off the inning with a walk. After right fielder Katie Dawson sacrificed her to second, Roulier would advance to third and later score on two Trojan passed balls in the inning. Later in the inning, Tigers shortstop Denisha Knight delivered a two-out RBI single to give Southeast its second run.
Northeast Lauderdale would get a run back in the top of the third, as Dawson misplayed a fly ball in right field with two outs. However, Trojans left fielder Kennedy Cummings was gunned out at home while trying to score on the play, as Knight's relay throw beat her to the plate to end the inning and preserve the lead for Southeast.
Northeast would provide another scare in the top of the fourth, as the Trojans put runners on first and third with no outs to begin the inning. Yeager was able to battle back though, striking out the next two batters before getting Brianna Robbins to ground out to second to end the inning.
“That was very big for the momentum in this game,” Bailey said. “It really helped her confidence wise as well.”
For Yeager, the mindset was simple – focus one batter at a time.
“I was just trying to throw it hard,” Yeager said. “I just wanted to throw strikes and get outs. It was good, because it helped pep me up and get going.”
Yeager would deliver again in the bottom of the inning. Following a RBI single from Tamara Trussell to make the score 3-1, Yeager laced a two-run single up the middle to put the Tigers up 5-1.
The win moves the Tigers to 15-7 on the season, and perhaps equally important, it gives the Tigers bragging rights over one of their biggest rivals.
“It's pretty good to win, because they beat us pretty bad last time,” Yeager said. “It felt good to win against them this time.”
Head coach Mack Fanning has been in the hospital the past nine days due to blood clots in both his legs. Since his absence, every win has become a little bit more important for the Tigers, as it means one more phone call they can deliver to their beloved coach.
“These girls love coach Fanning to death,” Bailey said. “They are concerned about him right now. They are playing for him.”